The Quitman Lady Bulldogs made it back-to-back titles in the Greers Ferry Lake Classic this past Friday night after edging the Mt. Vernon-Enola Lady Warhawks 34-30, as the host Concord Pirates defended their home court and overcame a slow start to defeat the Quitman Bulldogs 62-52 for their first GFLC title since 2013.
Quitman-34 MVE-30
In a battle of two top teams in Classes 1A and 2A, it was the 2A Lady Bulldogs who come out the victors as cousins Nicki and Rieley Hooten combined for four three-pointers and 22 of Quitman’s 34 points.
Both teams traded baskets back and forth over the course of the first eight minutes, with junior Nicki Hooten providing a layup and two three-pointers while senior guard Gracie Raby used her speed to get in the lane to provide two made baskets at the rim and two free-throws, as both teams entered the second quarter deadlocked at 12-12.
Hooten knocked down her third trifecta of the contest out of the break, leading to forward Lily Holland scoring twice from down low and Carson Rackley knocking down a jumper, holding the Lady Warhawks to one field goal that came from Alaina Ellis, giving Quitman a 22-16 advantage at intermission.
Rieley Hooten took the reins for the Lady Bulldogs in the third quarter, providing all six of the team’s points on a three-pointer, a layup, and a free throw while Raby and Ellis combined for eight points with senior Kyndal Hardy splitting on a trip to the charity stripe to cut the Quitman lead to one possession at 28-25 with just eight minutes remaining in the game.
Holland drove in for a basket to start the fourth quarter before Raby answered back with a lay in of her own, leading to sophomore Gracie Smith draining a fifteen-footer to give the Lady Bulldogs a 32-27 lead, as Raby would finish off a three-point play to get MVE back within one possession. Quitman would hold the ball for the better part of three minutes before turning it over, but Raby would fall short on her next three free throws and with the Lady Warhawks having to foul, put Rieley Hooten at the line, who would ice the game after connecting on two consecutive free throws.
Nicki and Rieley Hooten led Quitman with 11 points apiece, with Holland adding six. Raby provided half of her team’s total points after racking up 15. Woodruff followed with 6.
Concord-62 Quitman-52
Jumping out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter, the Quitman Bulldogs looked poised to pull the upset over top-seeded host Concord, but the Pirates would catch their second wind and outscore their opposition 38-29 in the final sixteen minutes after clinging to a 24-23 lead at the half.
Quitman guards Parker Benton and Zac Shue came out with the hot hands after combining for five three-pointers and being responsible for 15 of the Bulldogs’ first 17 points, all while holding Concord below double digits, with senior Riley Cornett and sophomore Bryar Cousins scoring from inside while senior Brooks Benton drained a shot from beyond the arc.
After Isaac Clemmons laid in a shot off the glass to start the second eight minutes of play, the Pirates went on a 11-0 run led by a second trifecta from Brooks Benton, a three and spin move and finish from senior Ryan Brock, and three free throws from Cousins to give Concord a 20-19 lead, with Parker Benton and Concord sophomore forward Hunter Spinks exchanging baskets, giving the Pirates a one-point advantage heading into the locker room.
Concord kept their offensive flow going after starting the second half on a 17-3 run, sparked by Brooks Benton’s third three, followed by a put back from Cornett, a shot from downtown from Cousins, two combined layups from Brock and Cornett, two free throws and yet another three from Cousins, and a long range shot from senior Hunter Hartwick, extending their lead to 44-29. Quitman would keep things close after Parker Benton and Clemmons found the net on three consecutive three-pointers to cut into their deficit at 46-40.
The Pirates got their lead back out to double digits after reeling off an 8-0 run, with Cousins scoring on a put back, Brooks Benton swishing his final three-pointer, and Cousins adding three more points on a made shot from the elbow and a free throw. Quitman senior Zack Heffentrager completed a three-point play late to get within eight at 60-52, but two free throws from Cousins sealed the victory for Concord, winning their fifteenth straight game while also winning their second tournament of the season.
Cousins led the Pirates (17-3) with 21 points, with Brock following with 13 and Benton finishing with 12. Parker Benton led the Bulldogs with 17 points on five three pointers as Clemmons clocked out with 13.
Full tournament results:
Wednesday, December 27 (First Round)
Sr. Girls
West Side-46 Rural Special-29 (Sr. Girls)
Shirley-56 West Side-48 (Sr. Boys)
Concord-69 Nemo Vista-40 (Sr. Girls)
Nemo Vista-48 Mt. Vernon-Enola-46 (Sr. Boys)
Mt. Vernon-Enola-55 Shirley-26 (Sr. Girls)
Quitman-68 Rural Special-29 (Sr. Boys)
Thursday, December 28 (Semifinals)
Quitman-64 West Side-49 (Sr. Girls)
Concord-71 Shirley-41 (Sr. Boys)
Mt. Vernon-Enola-54 Concord-44 (Sr. Girls)
Quitman-78 Nemo Vista-37 (Sr. Boys)
Friday, December 29 (Finals)
Quitman-34 Mt. Vernon-Enola-30 (Sr. Girls)
Concord-62 Quitman-52 (Sr. Boys)