Westside ends Lions' NEA title hopes
Fifth seeded Westside connected on its last six free throw attempts in the final minute of play to stave off a late Manila rally as the Warriors held on to defeat the fourth seeded Lions 50-43 in the quarterfinals of the Northeast Arkansas Invitational Tournament Thursday afternoon in Jonesboro.
Manila trailed by seven with 5:19 left before Zac Riley completed a three point play to slice the Westside lead to 35-31. Chase Mickelson dropped in a pair of free throws for a six point Warrior lead but Manila's Scott Eubanks made a nifty move on the baseline and sank a 12-foot jumper to cut the advantage to 37-33 at the 4:36 mark.
Mickelson answered with a basket of his own with 3:45 left to push the Warrior lead back to six. Zac Preston made three free throws over the next minute, giving the Warriors a 42-35 lead at the 2:39 mark.
Lion point guard Caleb Reinhart coaxed in a high arching three pointer and Eubanks followed with a reverse lay-in and suddenly Manila was within 42-40 with 1:47 showing on the clock.
Forced to foul, the Lions sent Preston to the free throw stripe where the junior guard hit both ends of the double bonus, putting the Warriors up 44-40. Manila missed on its next two trips down the floor and the Lions were again forced to send Westside to the foul line where Blake Price and Preston nailed four more foul shots to ice the game away.
The two teams battled on even terms until late in the first quarter before a Mickelson lay-in and a three pointer by Price gave Westside a 13-8 advantage. Eubanks' offensive stick-in, two of his eight first period points, cut the Warrior lead to 13-10 at the break.
Price took over in the second quarter, drilling three more treys to help the Warriors build a 26-14 lead. Kyle Joyner's basket with 28 seconds left in the half left the Lions down 10 at intermission.
Neither team could get going offensively in the third quarter as Manila outscored Westside 7-4, leaving the Lions with a seven point deficit entering the final frame.
Price led the Warriors with 19 points, including five three pointers on the night. Preston scored 16 while Mickelson chipped in 13. Westside finished 13-16 at the foul line, including a 12-14 performance in the final quarter.
Eubanks topped the Lions' offensive effort with 18 points while Reinhart added 16. Riley scored five and Joyner chipped in four. Manila connected on 12-13 free throws and made three treys.