Lady Bombers clinch No. 2 seed, Lady Pats will be third
By Chuck Livingston Sports Editor
MARION — Mountain Home rode a hot shooting night from three-point range, and some excellent execution down the stretch to a 40-33 win against Marion at Patriot Arena last night. The Lady Bombers connected on eight of their 16 attempts from long distance, and hit six of their nine free throw attempts in the fourth quarter to sweep the conference season series against Marion for the second straight year, while also clinching at worst the No. 2 seed in this year’s Class 6A state basketball tournament in Russellville. Marion is locked into the No. 3 seed where they will play the No. 3 seed from the 6A-South at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, March 2. “I’m really glad we were able to go on the road and beat a good Marion team,” said Mountain Home head coach Dell Leonard. “Both teams knew how big this game was, and it seemed like there were a lot of nerves early.” Leonard had a point. The first half played host to 11 Marion turnovers and seven from Mountain Home, but the Lady Bombers were able to cover that up with some sharp shooting. Mountain Home shot five of nine from distance over the game’s first two quarters to tote an 18-15 lead with it to the halftime lockers. Mountain Home would take control in the third period by ramping up their effort on defense and rebounding. Marion lost four turnovers in the stanza, while making just two of 10 shots from the field and Mountain Home even outboarded Marion 6-5 in the frame, despite the Lady Pats being noticeably bigger in the frontcourt. “We always like to hang our hat on what we do defensively,” Leonard explained. “The way we competed on defense, and the way we competed on the boards gave us a chance.” Mountain Home would claim its first double-digit lead on a Hannah Pfeifer three-point basket that was good for a 28-17 Lady Bomber lead and the visitors would enter the final frame with a 28-19 advantage. Marion would get within four points on two separate occasions in the fourth quarter. Once on an Ebony Day lay-up with 1:06 left, and again after a pair of Kennedi Boykins free throws, but the Lady Pats would get no closer than that as Vinessa Daniel would can three of four free throws in the game’s last 24.4 seconds to clinch the win for Mountain Home. Marion (9-15 overall, 2-9 7A/6A-East) was led by Boykins and her 11 points, Day was up next with an unorthodox double-double of six points, 11 rebounds and 11 blocks and Marie Hunter and Jakyya Clay would add four apiece. Mountain Home (15-10 overall, 6-5 7A/6A-East) got 14 from junior Micah Hudson, 12 from Pfeifer and seven from Cassie Martin.