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Pocahontas uses free throws for victory

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Photographs by Stephen B. Thornton

Pocahontas players tumble into a pile around their MVP Ashlyn Ellis (11) after a 54-46 overtime victory over Pottsville on Saturday at Bank of the Ozarks Arena in Hot Springs. For additional photos, go to arkansasonline.com/galleries

HOT SPRINGS -- A little foul play carried Pocahontas over Pottsville in overtime Saturday night.

MVP Ashlyn Ellis scored 22 points and the Lady Redskins outscored the Lady Apaches by 14 points from the free-throw line on their way to a 54-46 victory in front of 4,152 fans at the Bank of the Ozarks Arena.

Pocahontas (33-3) hit 15 of 20 free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter and overtime while Pottsville went 0-2 from the line. Lady Redskins' 5-11 senior forward Kristen Wiseman scored six of her 13 points in the extra period.

"I just realized that overtime might have been a good thing for us," said Wiseman, who also collected a game-high 15 rebounds. "We had to really kick it in. It gave us another chance and we had to finish it."

Pottsville (21-12) led by as much as 24-16 with 59.9 seconds left in the second quarter and stayed ahead for much of regulation.

But Pocahontas dominated the overtime.

"It was pretty much a dead-heat," Pottsville Coach Chance Johnson said. "We make two more field goals, we make two more threes, but they kill us at the free-throw line. They made 21 and we made 7."

Pocahontas was 15 of 40 from the floor and 3 of 7 on three-pointers. The Lady Redskins were 21 of 27 from the free-throw line.

Pottsville made 10 of 27 from the field (40 percent) in the first half, and finished 17 of 56 (30.4 percent) for the game, including a 5 of 16 showing on three-pointers. The Lady Apaches were 7 of 11 from the line.

Another big difference: Pocahontas outrebounded Pottsville, 41-27.

"I thought we did a good job defensively," Johnson said. "But we didn't get the rebounds we needed."

Pocahontas Coach Harlan Davis said his team gained confidence once the game went into overtime.

"We played overtime in a regional tournament and we had a good overtime then, too," he said. "So I thought we had four minutes to do the things we've done all year long and kick it in. We did a good job of getting it in to our post girls."

Wiseman was 5 of 9 shooting, but two of her field goals came during the final 3:10 of the extra period.

"She just took over," Johnson said of Wiseman. "She's a great player. I thought we did a great job on her for most of the night. In those situations, she just took over and did a great job."

Mikayla Kirk, a 6-0 junior center, was also key factor in the late going, hitting two free throws with 1:02 left in regulation that eventually sent the game into overtime. Kirk -- who was 6 of 7 from the free-throw line -- finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Pocahontas stumbled after the opening tip. The Lady Redskins suffered seven turnovers in the game's first five minutes. Pottsville guard Aspen Campbell, who would finish with a team-high 14 points, made three steals and had an assist as the Lady Apaches scored the game's first six points.

"Pottsville did such a good job of taking us out of our attack early and got us back on our heels a little bit," said Davis, whose team committed only eight turnovers in the game's final 31 minutes. "But we got in position to attack the floor a little harder and we got a little momentum."

Pottsville hit 4 of its final 15 field-goal attempts and was outrebounded 12-8 in the fourth period and overtime.

"We got a little tight and a little nervous," Johnson said. "We started taking shots that weren't our shots. We were taking individual shots, not team shots. We pressed the issue a little too much."

Junior Skylar Campbell added 10 points and two steals for Pottsville while sophomore Abby James was good for eight points and a team-high seven rebounds.

Sports on 03/13/2017

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