Lady Panthers 10-0 in conference

PEARCY – The Benton Lady Panthers are probably forgetting what losing feels like. The Lady Panthers won their 12th consecutive game and improved to 10-0 in the 6A South conference with a 52-25 victory of the Lake Hamilton Lady Wolves on Tuesday night. And again, defense has been the force behind Benton’s success.

“We were playing just stellar defense,” Benton Coach Jerry Chumley said. “They had four field and three free throws [in the first half]. We couldn’t ask for any more defensively. The second half, it just kind of continued.”

The game was back-and-forth in the first quarter as it ended 8-7 with Benton leading, but the Lady Panthers (18-6, 10-0 6A South) started playing their trademark defense and held the Lady Wolves to four points in the second quarter and went into the half leading 21-11.

Benton kept it going in the second half and Chumley said his team continues to surprise him.

“We shot the ball well,” he said. “We dove for more loose balls; the 50-50 balls, we won just about all of those battles. Every time there was a loose ball, we had a Lady Panther on the floor trying to get it.

“It was exciting to see how much energy we had defensively. It’s been really good in previous games, but tonight it was even better. I didn’t know we could go to another level defensively, but we did.”

After outscoring Lake Hamilton 10-4 in the third, the Lady Panthers kept pouring it on by forcing turnovers and blowing the Lady Wolves out 21-10 in the fourth quarter for the big ending margin.

Junior Madison Brooks led a balance attack with 12 points for Benton. Junior Korie Parker followed with nine points, senior Bailey Gately scored eight, sophomore Allison Reynolds had seven and senior Brooke Million hit two 3-pointers for six points.

“We had a good night,” Chumley said. “[The Lady Panthers have] bought in. They know that’s how we’re going to win. We don’t score much and they just lock them down. We were very active on that defensive end.

“It’s got to end sometime,” Chumley said of the winning streak. “Maybe it can end in the championship game, but that’s asking too much.”