BENTON – The Benton Lady Panthers and Greenbrier Lady Panthers faced off in the first game of the season in the first round of the Searcy Classic with Benton coming from behind to edge Greenbrier 44-43. Friday night, it looked much of the same with Benton holding on to a three-point lead going into the fourth. But just like their first matchup, the Lady Panthers would dominate the fourth quarter to get a 48-34 win over Greenbrier on Friday night at Benton Arena.
“That was probably our best time together as a unit on the floor,” Benton Coach Jerry Chumley said of the fourth quarter.
Leading 32-29 going into the final set, Benton junior Braylee Landreth would find junior Ashlie Dintleman down low for two points and senior Allison Reynolds hit 1 of 2 free throws to put the Lady Panthers up 35-29 with 6:37 left.
Up 35-32, Dintleman, who scored a career-high 20 (8 of 11 FG, 4 of 5 FT) points in the victory, would go to work again getting consecutive layups with the first ending in an and-1 and hitting the free throw. Landreth would lay it in to make it a 10-point lead, 42-32, with the game all but finished.
It was the first time the Lady Panthers have played since Dec. 20.
“Coming off a long layoff, defensively we played pretty well most of the game,” Chumley said. “We gave up some stuff we don’t normally give up. It was a good effort defensively, but we were real sluggish offensively.”
It was a back-and-forth game in the first quarter, which Greenbrier led 8-7, and the Lady Panthers from Faulkner County would get up 14-9 with 4:55 left in the half before Benton responded with a 10-0 run. Landreth began the run with an offensive rebound and put back, Reynolds would get a steal, and an and-1 layup hitting the free throw, sophomore Skylar Davis would lay it in assisted by junior Braxton Chumley, and Dintleman would get an offensive rebound and put back, with her first and-1 and free throw, to put the Lady Panthers up 19-14 with 2:38 left. But Greenbrier would fight back to tie it at 21-apiece at the half.
“We didn’t play well together the first half,” Chumley said. “We were up by five or six at one time and then we started making some silly decisions offensively; didn’t share the ball as well as we usually do.”
Dintleman, who averages just over four points per game, scored 13 of her 20 in the second half, added nine rebounds, three steals and two blocks.
“Ashlie Dintleman had her best game,” Chumley said. “She’s very capable. She’s one of our best athletes. She’s just never really thought of herself as a good player. She’s just kind of played second fiddle to some of the other players.
“She’s played a great role for us last year and most of this year, but she’s capable of scoring. She used some of her athleticism [Friday] spinning in the lane and jumping up and scoring. She’s capable of doing it about any time, she just has to believe in herself a little bit more. It was just a great effort by her.”
Landreth had 12 points, nine rebounds and two assists and Reynolds had 12 points, six steals and three rebounds.
“Greenbrier’s a good team,” Chumley said. “They’re well-coached and disciplined. They kept us in front most of the time. It was just a gritty ballgame by both teams.”
The Lady Panthers will travel to Beebe to play the Lady Badgers (6-3) on Tuesday night before opening 7A/6A South Conference play against their rival Bryant Lady Hornets on Friday.
“They have a really good guard, they have good guard play and a good post player inside,” Chumley said of Beebe. “They remind me of an El Dorado or a Pine Bluff. Just really solid. We’ll have our hands full. It’ll be a good matchup for us going into conference next week.”