MAUMELLE — The young Vilonia Lady Eagles' season came to an end Friday after the Nettleton Raiders beat the Lady Eagles, 75-60, in the second round of the girls 5A State Tournament in Maumelle.
Falling behind by seven in the first two minutes of the game, Vilonia coach Alvin Riley called a timeout.
The Lady Eagles (25-6) climbed back into the game on an 11-0 run spanning the next three minutes.
However, the tide changed when the Raiders (29-2) went on a 13-0 run, giving them a 20-11 lead midway through the second quarter.
Vilonia struggled with rebounding, getting outrebounded, 28-14, at halftime.
Those numbers didn’t get much better in the second half, as Nettleton pushed its lead to 18 points with 5:18 left in the game.
The Lady Eagles also struggled shooting from behind the 3-point arc, missing seven out of 22 3-point attempts.
Despite the loss, Riley was pleased with his team’s effort.
“I’m really proud of our team,” he said. “We didn’t win tonight, but I thought we fought hard. We battled an awful good team.”
Riley said the Raiders, along with Little Rock Christia,n may be the top two teams in 5A.
He also complimented 5A as a whole.
“Nettleton along with Little Rock Christian are the top two teams in the state, in my opinion,” he said. “There are so many good teams in 5A, it’s just hard to deal with.”
The Raiders had four players reach double figures, led by junior Mya Love’s 19, followed by senior Jordan Elder’s 18, junior Dasia Young’s 11 and senior Bailey Booker’s 10.
Though his team lost, Riley is confident his team will be back because of the team’s youth.
Vilonia is losing five seniors, including: Aaliyah Cash, Kenna Beaty, Ashlyn Koonce, Ashlee Andrews and Alexis Burnham.
“I have two freshman guards, a sophomore post,” he said. “We will be back in the future.”
Those players Riley mentioned were the Lady Eagles leading scorers with sophomore Paige Kelley scoring a game-high 23, followed by freshman Lauren Patterson’s 14 and freshman Laney Mears’ 11.
With the win, Nettleton moves on to play Friday night’s winner of Little Rock Christian and Watson Chapel.