In less that 18 hours Monday and Tuesday, state championship dreams were extinguished for three Faulkner County teams.
Mayflower’s boys and St. Joseph’s boys lost in quarterfinal action Monday night.
Tuesday after, Paragould continued its string of frustration on the Vilonia girls.
Consequently, Conway’s girls will be the only Faulkner County representative in a state championship basketball game.
In the 5A semifinals at Alma on Tuesday, the third time wasn’t the charm for the Vilonia Lady Eagles.
For the third straight year, Paragould eliminated the Lady Eagles, 40-35, in the semifinals, snapping a 14-game winning streak by Vilonia in the process.
This one was especially frustrating for the Lady Eagles (27-6), who led the Lady Rams (22-5) by nine points and one point in the first half and by 23-19 at the half.
But the Lady Eagles got into serious foul trouble in the second half with starters McKenzie Morris and Hannah Schnebelen picking up their fourth foul and Cassidy McNespey her third midway through the third quarter.
Paragould star Sydney Layrock, who had 20 points, gave the Lady Rams the lead for good at 29-26 with a 3-pointer in the third quarter.
The Lady Rams spent the fourth quarter repelling Vilonia charges led by Morris.
Trailing 37-35, Vilonia had a chance at a tie or victory with possession with 27 seconds left. But a blocked shot and free throws by Abby Gibson and Layrock sealed the win.
Kaylea Hightower came off the bench to lead Vilonia with 11 points. Sydney Wader had nine.
In the 3A tournament at Charleston, host Charleston outscored Mayflower, 11-1, to start the second half to take control of the game in a 66-57 victory.
After the Eagles, who led by 10 at the half, crept within 54-52 with 1:46 left, the Tigers’ made 12 of 15 free throws to pull away.
Charleston’s Matthew Ward, who scored 41 points, scored 19 of the Tigers’ fourth-quarter points.
J.P. Perry scored 17 points in the final quarter on the way to 23 for Mayflower, which ended one of its most successful seasons in recent history at 24-8. Charleston moves into the state title game at 30-5.
In the Class 2A quarterfinals at Hampton, Junction City outscored St. Joseph 16-7 in the third quarter to take the lead for good in a 47-32 victory, ending the Bulldogs’ season at 27-7.
Drake Cooper lead the Bulldogs with 14 points, eight rebounds and two steals. Taylor Schrekenhofer added five points and four rebounds. Nash Nichols had five points and five rebounds. Jensen Thielke had four points and William Fields, four assists.
"I’m proud of the way the boys competed; they left everything on the floor tonight," said coach Brent Bruich. "For 29 of the 32 minutes, we played with them tooth and nail. They just wore us down physically in the end and we had nothing left in the tank. Junction City is a great team. They have two guys 6-foot-6 and extremely quick. It will take a great game to beat them.
"I’m proud of the season we had. They are a great group of young men and are a pleasure to coach and be around.
They grew up a lot this year and overcame so much adversity with injuries. We played the postseason without our point guard, Landon Enderlin. This team was like brothers and they played for him, our school and our community. It was truly a great year."