Junior Lions fall to Osceola in district finals
Town Crier Sports Staff
Osceola used a relentless full court press, forcing Manila into 20 turnovers, as the Seminoles went on to capture the 3A Junior High District Basketball Tournament Championship with a 46-26 victory over the Lions Saturday afternoon at Piggott.
Manila fell behind early, 8-3, but outscored Osceola 7-2 over the last two minutes of the opening frame to square the game at 10-10. Daley Belew started the rally with a three pointer, before Brian Gonzalez muscled his way for a couple of inside buckets to get the Lions even heading into the second stanza.
Osceola's Dan Newsome, who finished with a game high 24 points, scored two quick buckets to begin the second quarter, putting the Seminoles ahead by four. Ty Wagner answered with a three-point play for the Lions, slicing the Osceola lead to one, but the Seminoles went on a 9-1 run, capped off by Newsome's lay-in at the buzzer, giving Osceola a 23-14 halftime advantage.
Manila could have been closer at the half, but the Lions misfired on the front end of three consecutive one and one opportunities.
The two teams played on even terms in the third quarter, with Osceola taking a nine-point lead into the final frame, 32-23. The Seminoles' full court pressure finally wore down Manila in the final frame, forcing six turnovers and holding the Lions to just three points, all on free throws. Meanwhile, Osceola converted four Manila turnovers into points as they celebrated the tournament title.
"We just missed too many free throws and turned the ball over too many times," said Lion Coach John Deaton. "We had an excellent season, finishing 21-6. I'm proud of these kids. They did a great job."
Joining Newsome in double digits for Osceola was Greg Hooks, who finished with 12 points.
The Lions were led by Belew's eight points while Wagner and Gonzalez had seven and six points respectively. Austin Harmon scored three while Greg Patterson added two points. Mania hit just 8-21 free throw attempts.
Manila began the tournament with a 51-22 victory over Corning in Monday night's quarterfinals. The Lions led 11-5 after the first quarter, 20-15 at the half and 37-20 after three periods.
Belew poured in a game high 24 points to lead Manila. Wagner scored nine, Harmon tallied eight, Anthony Lopez netted four, Coby Hollis contributed three while Gonzalez pitched in two points. Patterson added one point for the Lions.
Manila downed host Piggott 53-27 in Thursday night's semifinals. The Lions placed four players in double figures, led by Wagner's team high 14 points. Gonzalez scored 12, Harmon had 11 while Belew chipped in 10 points. Hollis tallied four and Alex Estell added two points.
The Lions held leads of 11-5 after the first quarter, 27-8 at the half and 40-16 after three quarters.