The Rural Special Lady Rebels overcame a case of nerves and poor shooting in the first half to outscore the Norfork Lady Panthers 34-19 in the second half and take a 48-40 win for the school’s first state basketball championship.
The title game was played last Thursday in Hot Springs.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of them,” said Coach Luke Cornett, who is in his first year coaching at Rural Special and brought a short roster of eight players to the tournament. “They just keep on making the next play all the way through. Like you just saw, we’re down in the fourth quarter it doesn’t matter, we keep grinding and chipping away making the next play. I can’t say enough about how proud I am of them, everybody, one through eight.”
Both teams were tightly wound to start the game after Norfork controlled the opening tip. Three minutes had elapsed before Bailey Perry broke the ice with a trey from the baseline after Abbey Linville drove and dished the ball. It was nearly two and half minutes later when Norfork scored off a steal.
They added another basket after a Lady Rebel shot sailed short of the goal.
Another Rural Special miss led to a Lady Panther shot attempt, which Perry blocked. Another airball for the Lady Rebels came with about a minute left in the period. Norfork hit two freethrows after a foul, then converted another steal to lead 8-3 after the first quarter of action.
Read the full story in the March 24 issue, which also contains two photo pages from the title game.
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