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Basketball Northside Lady Bears claim Great 8 title

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Photographs by Ben Goff

Sara Bershers (from left) of Fort Smith Northside looks for a shot as Shelby Kurtz and Kylie Meier of Camdenton defend Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017, during the championship game of the First National Bank of NWA Great 8 Classic hosted by Rogers Heritage at War Eagle Arena in Rogers.

ROGERS -- Fort Smith Northside came into the First National Bank of NWA Great 8 Classic minus a couple of starters because of injuries, but that didn't slow the Lady Bears.

Freshman Jersey Wolfenbarger poured in a game-high 23 points and Northside had an answer for every Camdenton, Mo., charge to claim a 66-54 win in the championship game Saturday evening in War Eagle Arena.

First National Bank of NWA Great 8 Classic

at War Eagle Arena, Rogers Heritage

Saturday’s Scores

Seventh-place game: Rogers High 94, Fort Smith Southside 36.

Fifth-place game: Ozark, Mo. 63, iloam Springs 39.

Third-place game: Webb City, Mo. 40, Rogers Heritage 37.

Championship game: Fort Smith Northside 66, Camdenton, Mo., 54

Girls Basketball

Fort Smith Northside 66, Camdenton, Mo. 54

Northside^19^10^18^19^—^66

Camdenton^12^8^15^19^—^54

Fort Smith Northside (6-0): Wolfenbarger 23, S. Bershers 12, T. Bershers 8, Mays 8, Green 7, Carey 5, Coleman 3.

Camdenton (3-1): Rezabek 18, Meier 13, Miller 8, Kurtz 7, Schesnol 3, Basham 3, Roam 2.

The Lady Bears (6-0) led by double digits much of the fourth quarter, but could never put away the Lady Lakers (3-1) completely.

Camdenton pulled within 60-54 with 1 minute, 6 seconds left on two free throws by senior guard Coley Rezabek. But the Lady Lakers wouldn't score again and Northside hit six-of-six free throws.

Northside coach Rickey Smith was pleased to pick three wins in three days against solid competition, but credited Camdenton -- which lost junior Natalie Basham in the first half to an ankle injury -- for its solid play.

"We had them on the brink three or four times of breaking it open," Smith said. "Give them credit, we had several spurts where we had a basket or two just rim out and they would hit a shot. They played harder than we did in the second half.

"At the end of the day when you've got as many young kids as we're playing and new kids you've got to feel good that we finally figured out a way to put the ball inside a little bit and score. It was a good win for us."

The Lady Bears, who led 29-20 at halftime and 37-25 after three quarters, also did it without senior starters Alexis Evans and Aniya Webster, who are both sidelined with knee injuries. Evans should return next week, but Webster's status is still uncertain, Smith said.

But Wolfenbarger, a slender 5-foot-10 swing player who is already drawing Division I college interest, showed off her shooting, ball-handling in the open court and even some playmaking skills. She scored in transition, inside and also made three 3-pointers.

"She's special," Smith said. "That's about all you can say. You've got a kid who is a young freshman at that. Offensively, she's just so smooth. She works hard. I think the sky is the limit for her."

Sarah Bershers, a 6-foot junior, was also in double figures with 12 points, while her sister, Tracey, a 6-1 freshman, also chipped in eight.

Rezabek led Camdenton with 18 points, while Kylie Meier added 13. Lady Lakers coach Stacey Caffey said her team, which likes to use full-court pressure and play at a fast pace, had trouble with turnovers against Northside's pressure and length.

"We started out in our press because I truly believe if you're gonna do it, you've got to believe in it wholeheartedly," Caffey said. "We pressed at times and caused a little bit of havoc, but then we'd get a foul called or unlucky situations. We pulled back in the halfcourt and tried to make outside shots and they knocked down some big shots, too."

Webb City, Mo. 40, Rogers Heritage 37

The Lady Cardinals made eight of nine free throws in the final 4:44 of the fourth quarter to hold off Heritage to win the third-place game.

Webb City (2-2) used an 8-0 run in the fourth quarter to turn a 30-27 deficit into a 35-30 advantage with 2:49 left.

Brooke Menke's basket inside the lane got Heritage (2-3) within 38-37 with 37 seconds left, but the Lady War Eagles got no closer.

Sophomore Pam Seiler led Heritage, which opened the fourth quarter with six straight to take a 30-27 lead, with 12, while Menke added 11. Addie Darby finished with a game-high 17 for Webb City.

Ozark, Mo. 63, Siloam Springs 39

The Lady Tigers pulled away in the second half to claim fifth place.

Ozark (2-1) led only 28-22 at halftime, but used a big second half to take over and go on to the easy win. Sophomore Madi Braden led three Lady Tigers in double figures with 14, including three 3-pointers. Anna Hitt added 13 and Olivia Hanks chipped in 10.

Morgan Vaughn led Siloam Springs (2-4) with a game-high 16, including three 3-pointers.

Rogers High 49, Fort Smith Southside 36

The Lady Mounties (3-2) started the second half with a 13-0 run to break open a close game and win the seventh-place game.

Senior Ally Figenskau was Rogers' lone player in double figures with a game-high 20 points, including 15 in the first half. The 6-foot junior added nine rebounds and six blocked shots. Sophomore Kate McConnell hit two of her 3-pointers to key the Lady Mounties' big third-quarter run. Kelly Carson led Southside (0-6) with 13 points.

Sports on 12/03/2017

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