MAUMELLE — In a lopsided performance, the Vilonia Lady Eagles defeated the Lakeside Lady Rams, 65-42, to move on in the 5A state tournament.
Vilonia (26-5) jumped to an early lead after playing the passing lanes and forcing several first quarter turnovers, which ended with the Lady Eagles leading 11-6.
“We just got after the ball,” Lady Eagles coach Alvin Riley said. “We used quickness and were able to get out and anticipate the passes and get the steal.”
A 15-0 run to start the second quarter, led to a 26-6 lead with 2:43 left in the second quarter.
By halftime, Vilonia stretched that lead to 21 points.
In part to drawing fouls in the first half, shooting 23 free throws.
“We were a little bit bigger on the post and stronger,” Riley said. “Paige [Kelley] usually draws a lot of fouls around the post.”
However, the Lady Eagles missed nine free throws in the first half, which Riley attributed to a bit of nerves.
“We were nervous,” he said. “I wasn’t nervous until they made me nervous. At the free- throw line in the first half, especially, they were nervous.
“Those were ninth graders at the line, and I guess, they are going to be nervous. Hopefully, they get over that. We usually shoot free throws a lot better.”
For the game, Vilonia made 23 of 33 free throws.
The Lady Eagles defense continued to stifle the Lady Rams offense (20-11), which only scored five points in the third quarter.
In contrast, the fourth quarter was the most productive period of the game for Lakeside, when Riley dug into his bench a little more.
The Lady Rams scored 20, with junior Ashton Patrick scoring 12 of her 17 points in the quarter.
The early hole it fell into was troublesome to get out of for Lakeside.
Kelley led all scorers with 18 points, followed by freshman Lauren Patterson’s 14 points.
Patrick’s 17 led the Lady Rams.
With the win, Vilonia will move on to face the East’s No. 1 seed Nettleton in the second round Friday at Maumelle.
Nettleton finished 29-2 overall with a 17-1 record in the 5A East.
Riley said the Lady Eagles will have to play better to get past Nettleton.
“We just need to play solid defense and rebound,” he said. “We can’t let them get a lot of second shots. We also need to be able to shoot better tomorrow than we did today.
”We especially need to get better at the free throw line. We didn’t shoot well there and shoot better overall. Hopefully, we will holdout defensively to keep from running up and down the floor.”
Vilonia and Nettleton will face off at 4 p.m. Friday at Maumelle.