GREENBRIER – Though it wasn’t the final game of the 18th annual Battle at the Brier, fans were served the main course between the Vilonia and Greenbrier boys team Friday night at the Panther Pavilion.
Down by eight heading into the fourth quarter, the Eagles rallied to pull within two with just over a minute left in the game.
Vilonia senior Hunter Neely stole the ball from a Panther player and the Eagles headed toward their end of the court.
Trying to find the open shot, Vilonia held the ball until senior Tyson Wertz pulled up at the top of the 3-point arc and made his shot, putting the Eagles up 46-44 with 9.8 seconds left.
Greenbrier crossed midcourt with 4.1 seconds left and coach Mike Simmons called timeout.
After the timeout, the Panthers inbounded the ball, eventually finding junior Juwuan Clifton for a corner 3-pointer in front of the Greenbrier bench. The shotrimmed out, securing at Vilonia victory.
To pull within two, Eagle junior Grant Goers hit his lone 3-pointer of the game.
Vilonia had attempted few 3-point shots up to this point.
"We were attempting to get half court continuity, and it’s coming slow," Vilonia coach Tim Goers said. "That’s what happening. We’re teaching our kids to work together and be patient. As that patience comes and we get better at what we’re trying to do, we’ll get more outside shots."
From Thursday night, Goers yelled at his team about not finishing, and much of the same was a problem early in Friday’s game, causing the Eagles to slip behind Greenbrier by six points by the end of the third quarter.
Greenbrier is playing really well," Goers said. "They were a hard scout. They have a lot of different weapons, they shoot the ball well and have a good post game, they can get to the rack.
"So for us, to come in here tonight with how up and down we’ve been playing and get the win is great. We’re such a young team that I feel like we’re not even close to what our kids can do yet. Once we get our stuff together, I think we can be a good team. I really do."
Vilonia was led by Neely’s 15 points, followed by sophomore Tyler Moran’s 12.
Junior AJ Matthews led Greenbrier with 12.
Vilonia girls 54, Greenbrier girls 22
The girls half of the Friday matchup between the two rivals schools looked much different.
From the outset, Vilonia’s defense stifled Greenbrier, holding them to just four points after one quarter.
Sophomore Paige Kelley’s scored a game-high 20 points. Ten of her 20 came in the first quarter.
The Lady Panthers struggled to get anything going the rest of the game and by halftime, they were too far behind to catch up with a 38-12 deficit.
Vilonia girls 67, Maumelle girls 34
Again proving their dominance in the Battle at the Brier tournament, the Lady Eagles came away with a third blowout win to capture the girls trophy.
The Lady Eagles saw a repeat performance of the previous night’s first quarter, going up 25-2 .
Soon Vilonia coach Alvin Riley took out his starters and the Lady Hornets started to get some points back, but it was too little too late.
The Lady Eagles were led by Kelley’s 12-point effort, which all came in the first quarter, followed by junior Hannah Montgomery’s 11 and Reagan Bates’ 10.
Maumelle senior Kortney Johnson scored a game-high 18, and junior Alundra McMiller followed with 12.
Maumelle boys 72, Vilonia boys 62
Trying to recapture that fourth quarter magic being behind by six was not in the cards for Vilonia.
With a trio of 3-pointers from Hornet sophomore Jathen Mills, the Eagles were essentially buried on their way to a loss, which allowed Maumelle to capture the boys trophy.
Maumelle was led by senior Terrell Curtis’ 18, followed by Mills’ 14 and junior Brahm Harris’ 10.
Vilonia was led by junior Caleb Borrow’s 14, while Grant Goers had 11 and junior Trey Kelley finished with 10.
Greenbrier boys 74, Little Rock Flames 56
In the final game of the tourney, Greenbrier’s boys (9-6) surged to a 74-56 victory over the Little Rock Flames homeschool team.