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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • West Side Jr. Boys nip Shirley in district title game

  • West Side's Junior Eagles seemingly step it up a notch when it comes tournament time.
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  • West Side's Junior Eagles seemingly step it up a notch when it comes tournament time. With two tournament crowns already under their belt, including the Greers Ferry Lake Classic and Guy-Perkins Invitational, the Jr. Eagles capped their season with a 26-24 win over Shirley's Junior Blue Devils on Saturday night in the 1A-2 South District Tournament championship game. West Side, which finished its season with a record of 20-5, also beat 1A-2 South Conference champion Shirley (19-3) in the finals of the Greers Ferry Lake Classic. In Saturday's game, the Jr. Eagles too the first lead ear when forward Dalton Treece canned a three-pointer up top nearly two minutes into the contest. Shirley forward Daniel Shempke responded with a steal and coast-to-coast drive for a layup, but Dalton Treece quickly answered with an 18-foot jumper from top of the key. Shirley tied the game on an old-fashioned three-point play from forward Jed Privitt, who finished with a strong post move. Knotted at 5-all, Shirley guard Braden Parker ripped a three-pointer from left elbow, giving the Jr. Blue Devils an 8-5 lead heading into the second quarter. West Side opened the second stanza with five straight as guard Randon Carlton bombed a three-pointer from right wing and Dalton Treece scored in transition off an assist from Carlton. Prater tied the game at 10-all with a bank shot in the lane before Dalton Treece sank a 15-foot jumper from left elbow, giving West Side a 12-10 advantage at intermission. The Jr. Eagles ran off four consecutive to start the third quarter as forward Mason Treece canned a 12-foot jumper from left baseline off an assist from Carlton, then guard Blaine Hipp came away with a steal and hit Jake Lawson for a fast-break layup. Privitt countered with an extremely difficult leaner from behind the basket on left baseline as the Jr. Blue Devils pulled within four before Lawson attacked the left side of the lane and finished strong. Late in the third period, Shirley guard Eason Freeman came up with a loose ball and scored inside, cutting West Side's lead to 18-14 heading into the final six minutes of play. Shirley suddenly stormed in front by opening the fourth quarter with a 6-0 run, starting with four consecutive free throws from Privitt. Shempke swiped a steal and scored as the Jr. Blue Devils used their full-court pressure to take a 20-18 lead before Lawson dropped a hanger in the lane. Tied at 20-all, Carlton picked a steal and hit Hipp, who finished with a layup while drawing a hard foul. Hipp completed the three-point play then Carlton whipped a pass to Mason Treece, who scored from left block. With West Side holding a 25-20 lead, Shirley trimmed its deficit to one with a driving basket from guard Michael Meewson followed by a putback from Privitt. Clinging to a 25-24 lead, Mason Treece buried a free throw with 25.1 seconds left, giving West Side a two-point cushion. Shirley had a chance to tie on three different possessions but misfired on three foul shots and Privitt's leaner in the lane in the closing seconds caromed off the back of the rim as West Side pulled out a 26-24 victory. Privitt scored a game-high 11 points for Shirley and Prater added five. Dalton Treece paced West Side with seven points – all in the first half, Lawson followed with six, while Hipp and Mason Treece each finished with five.
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