Trumann Senior Boys Pass Pocahontas Heading to Regional

Thursday, February 17, 2011

DT Sports Staff

The Wildcats topped the Pocahontas Redskins in the quarterfinals of the 4A-3 District Tournament at Trumann on Tuesday, 67-64.

Coach Skip Dulaney talks strategy during a Wildcat timeout.

Pocahontas scored first after the tipoff to take a 2-0 advantage, but that would be the last time they led.

Trumann turned up the pressure early. A three-pointer by Lee Conatser at the 6:48 mark put Trumann ahead, 5-2. Senior Justin Stevens hit a three-pointer with 4:40 remaining the first that made the score 12-4 for the Wildcats. The Pocahontas game plan was to keep the ball out of the hands of Matt Holt early, after he torched Brookland for 20 points Monday night. However, the tactic left a group of talented Wildcat players free to make an impact in the opening frame, with Malcolm Washington scoring six points, four from Nathan Maxwell and Dylan Dulaney and Conatser netting three each.

The second period saw Trumann build the lead to 34-20. The Wildcats' defense led to 12 first half turnovers by the Redskins.

The guests came back just before intermission. Pocahontas scored eight unanswered points in the final minutes of the second period, closing the gap to 34-28 in favor of Trumann.

The Redskins some out with war paint on in the third, and cut the lead to 34-31 within the first two minutes.

The teams swapped buckets before Pocahontas went on a scoring spree spanning about four minutes, cutting the Trumann lead to one, 45-44, with just over a minute left in the half. The 'Cats were in front, 50-47, going into the final frame.

The teams continued to duke it out in the fourth. Pocahontas' Jacob Calhoun buried a three-pointer with 14 seconds left to bring the Redskins within a point, 53-64.

Holt was sent to the line with just nine seconds remaining. He calmly sank both attempts at the stripe, setting the final in place.

Washington led the Wildcats with 21 points. Holt had 19 in the win. Also scoring for Trumann were Jimmy Creecy 8, Justin Stevens 7, Conatser 5, Maxwell had 4 and Dylan Dulaney 3.

Calhoun had 29 for Pocahontas.

With the win, Trumann advanced to the semifinal round, where they were slated to meet top seed Westside on Wednesday. The Wildcats qualified for the 4A East Regional Tournament, set to begin Feb. 23 in Trumann, by advancing to the district semifinals.

The Wildcats have shown tremendous effort on the court in recent weeks, ensuring a strong postseason presence for their hometown fans.

"I am just so proud of these boys," Trumann coach Skip Dulaney said. "They played great. Matt (Holt) stepped up in the fourth period. Wouldn't know he is just a Sophomore, would you? Everybody just played great. The bench came through when called on and everyone just did a great job."

After tough wins against Brookland and Pocahontas to advance, the 'Cats will next face the always tough Westside Warriors.

"We will be meeting Westside and three games of this caliber in a row is tough for anyone," coach Dulaney said.

When asked about the quality of teams at the regional tournament, coach Dulaney said he feels the top four will likely be Heber Springs, Stuttgart, Marianna, and Cave City.

Wildcats Trap Bearcats

Trumann was tenacious Monday night, defeating the Brookland Bearcats, 63-44, in the first round of the 4A-3 District Tournament at Trumann High School.

Creecy and Washington were the scoring forces in the first period. Trumann jumped to 5-0 lead and ended the first period in front 9-6. Creecy had five points and Washington had four for the Wildcats.

Three-pointers by Conatser and Dylan Delaney along with three blocked shots by Washington highlighted the second period. Washington's high flying defense intimidated the Brookland shooters to such an extent they only scored four points midway through the second period. Washington also impacted the offense in the frame when, at the 1:56 mark, he created a turnover and ran the length of the court for a layup and a trip to the line. The referee called it an intentional foul which awarded two shoots to Washington plus possession to the Wildcats. Holt received the inbound pass and was fouled, sinking both free throws. Holt was 6-6 from the line in the second period. Trumann increased their advantage to 28-17 at intermission.

The third period found both teams a little sluggish. Three and half minutes of play found the score to be only 30-18. Washington scored six points and, along with Holt, began a ball control surge that found the Bearcats committing a lot of unforced errors. With less than three minutes left in the third period, a strong rebound by Holt forced a technical foul by Brookland. Holt went to the line and made one of two free throws with Trumann maintaining possession. The 'Cats built a 33-20 lead. As if that was not a big enough blow to the Bearcats, after steal by Holt and a foul by Brookland , the Bearcat bench got a third technical foul that sent Holt to the line again for two more successful attempts. This made the score 54-37, setting momentum firmly in favor of Trumann.

Holt had 11 of Trumann's 21 fourth period points. He finished with 20 points on the night, including converting on 16 of 18 from the free throw line. Washington had a great night with 17 points and 15 rebounds. Also scoring for the Wildcats were Creecy 9, Conatser 7, Dylan Dulaney 4, Stevens 3 and Maxwell 3.

"Brookland is a very physical team," coach Dulaney said. "We had to win this game three or four times. This was a lot different night than the ones on the road last week. Home court makes a difference."

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