WEST SIDE — The first half of the 1A state girls semifinal game was controlled by the West Side Lady Eagles. They jumped out early and went on a 7-0 run to open up the game in Brady-Hipp Arena.
However, the Norfork Lady Panthers stormed back in the second half and punched their ticket to the state finals with a 54-48 win.
The Lady Panthers scored the first points of the game, but after this it was all Lady Eagles.
West Side kept their scoring between Kamryn Sutterfield, who 23 total points for the Lady Eagles, and Ashtyn Knapp, who ended the night with 20 points. Between these two they accounted for 11 of West Side’s 14 first quarter points. The Eagles led 14-13 after the opening frame.
The Lady Panthers grabbed an offensive board and put it right back up to take an early lead in the second quarter. Again the Lady Eagles came right back and took the game over again. They held to Lady Panthers to just five points all quarter. This defense translated to points for the Lady Eagles who led by seven at the halftime break.
Knapp hit a layup to open up the second half scoring. This gave the Lady Eagles their largest lead of the game, nine. After this point it became the Lady Panthers’ ballgame.
They got as close as two points behind the Lady Eagles and forced West Side to call a timeout. This helped slow the Lady Panthers some, but 23 hit a three at the 2:40 mark to give them their first lead since the first minute of the second quarter.
The two squads traded leads late in the quarter, but it was the Lady Panthers who took a 39-37 lead into the fourth.
Even though the Lady Panthers never lost their lead in the fourth, they were never comfortable until the buzzer rang.
The Lady Eagles seemed to always be within a shot or two of Norfork’s lead.
Sutterfield hit a three at the :46 second mark to bring the game within three.
The Lady Panthers shot 10-16 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter to keep their lead.
Kiley Alman had 12 points for the Lady Panthers. 15 had 10, while Hannah Bryant added nine.
Norfork will meet the Rural Special Lady Rebels in Hot Springs Thursday at 4 p.m.