GRAVETTE -- Matt Busch had some passionate words for his starting point guard Chace Austin, as he embraced the junior after he hit the biggest free throws of the night.
Austin's only points of the night came in the final minutes of a tightly contested 4A-1 Conference boys basketball game, and his perfect four-of-four from the stripe helped Gravette to a 52-47 win against Berryville on Friday.
"I took him out for a while and then put him back in. I knew he was our finisher," Busch, the Gravette coach, said. "I was just like, 'Man I'm proud of you.' Those were huge free throws, and for him, I'm really proud of him."
The win snapped Gravette's four-game losing streak, with the Lions finally getting a close one to go their way, much to the delight of Busch. Three of those losses were decided by five points or less.
"I was just happy," Busch said. "You go through a week or two of not winning one, and then your guys step up and make big plays at home on homecoming, it's just a really good feeling."
Gravette (10-11, 2-6 4A-1) struggled to get its shots to fall in the first quarter, and Busch turned to his bench early to provide a spark on offense, which he found in Kaleb Furlow.
The junior knocked down four threes in the second quarter, scoring 11 points in the first three minutes to lead Gravette back to only being down one possession going into the half. He shot 80 percent from behind the arc in the second and finished with 14 of his team's 17 points.
"He's a great shooter," Busch said. "In practice, he never misses."
Furlow wouldn't score again until the fourth, but he hit two more threes in the quarter, including the go-ahead basket that would give Gravette its final lead of the night. He finished with a game-high 20 points.
Sophomore Cy Hilger also added some offense off the bench, finishing second on the team with eight points. Hilger did most of his damage in the fourth quarter, including hitting a three-pointer that extended Gravette's lead to six, which at the time was the largest lead of the night for the Lions.
"Cy and Chase at the end," Busch said. "Both our point guards really carried us late, whether it be free throws, tough rebounds, leadership. On so many levels, I thought Chase and Cy carried us."
Berryville (9-14, 2-6) limited Gravette to just 2-12 shooting in the first quarter but struggled to contain the Lions' shooters the remainder of the game. The Bobcats kept the lead through the first half behind the shooting of Trenton Hutchinson, who knocked down three three-pointers in the second quarter, but the team failed to close the game out when they had the chance.
"We needed a win bad," Busch said. "We had lost a couple in a row, and we just preached it all week. I just thought our guys just did a great job."
Berryville 9 15 9 14 -- 47
Gravette 5 17 10 20 -- 52
Berryville (9-14, 2-6): Webb 11, Hutchinson 9, Kendrick 8, Peden 7, Chester 5, Lehr 5, Davidson 2
Gravette (11-11, 3-6): Furlow 20, Hilger 8, Griffith 6, Batie 6, Trembly 5, Austin 4, Carver 3
Berryville 58, Gravette 29
The Lady Bobcats knocked down nine 3-pointers and had three players in double digits.
Lilli Compton hit four 3-pointers and Lexy Anderson added three more as both players each had 14 points in Berryville's win. Baylea Smith also chipped in 13 for the Lady Bobcats (22-1, 7-1).
"Our two post players command so much attention that it really freed up our guards to shoot the ball," Berryville coach Daniel Cornelison said. "Lilli Compton really shot the ball well for us tonight and hit some huge threes for us down the stretch. Lexy hit some big threes in the second half."
Even with his team doubling up the score on the Lady Lions, Cornelison expressed some frustration with his team being lazy with the basketball through some stretches of the game. Fixing those "wasted possessions" will be a key focus for the team before it faces Harrison on Tuesday, Cornelison said.
Gravette (11-9, 4-4) struggled to stop the Lady Bobcats' two post threats in Kelcee Hopper and Hannah Morrell, who combined for 15 points, but had some strong scoring from Shylee Morrison and Gabbi Scott. The two each had eight points in the loss for the Lady Lions.
Berryville 14 14 15 15 -- 58
Gravette 6 7 6 10 -- 29
Berryville (22-1, 7-1): Compton 14, Anderson 14, B. Smith 13, Morell 8, Hopper 7, K. Smith 2
Gravette (11-9, 4-4): Morrison 8, Scott 8, Bookout 5, Deihl 4, Beranek 3, Chilton 1
Ozark 40Gravette 33
It was a much closer game on Jan. 22 when the Lady Lions faced the Lady Hillbillies in Ozark. Though the game was close, the Ozark girls took the nonconference matchup by seven, 40-33.
Sports on 01/30/2019
Print Headline: Austin's clutch free throws, Furlow's 3-pointers huge for Gravette