Lady Panthers cruise to 14th straight

BENTON – The Benton Lady Panthers had no problem in dispensing the J.A. Fair Lady War Eagles 58-17 Tuesday night in 6A South conference action at Benton Arena. The Lady Panthers ho-hummed their way to the team’s 14th consecutive victory and improved to 12-0 in the 6A South.

“Fair is way down,” Benton Coach Jerry Chumley said. “We got through and didn’t have any injuries so mission accomplished.”

Both teams got off to slow starts as Benton (20-6, 12-0 6A South) led 2-0 after the first four minutes of the game before taking off in the latter part of the first quarter, outscoring the Lady War Eagles 14-6.

“We missed some easy shots and all of a sudden we got going,” Chumley said.

The Lady Panthers took off in the second quarter with steals and layups, with seniors Haley Bryant and Brooke Million scoring six points apiece to pace Benton to a 22-5 advantage in the second set to take a 36-11 halftime lead, with the game ultimately over.

“It was pretty much over by halftime,” Chumley said.

Million hit three 3-pointers in the game and finished with 10 points to tie for the team lead in a balanced scoring attack. In her last seven games, Million has hit 22 3-pointers to help the Lady Panthers continue their streak.

Benton outscored Fair (0-17, 0-12) 16-6 in the third quarter and held the Lady War Eagles scoreless in the fourth quarter to end the Lady Panthers’ dominate defensive performance. Benton also defeated Fair 51-15 in its first meeting.

Junior Korie Parker also scored 10 points to share the team high, Bryant scored eight points and senior Amy Wilson added seven.

“A lot of kids got in, a lot of kids played; we didn’t get anybody hurt marching on to Friday night’s big game,” Chumley said.

That big game is against the Texarkana Lady Razorbacks, which hold an 11-1 conference record, their only loss coming against the Lady Panthers. Benton won 44-30 in Texarkana their first meeting and will clinch the 6A South with victory Friday night.

“It’s going to be for all the marbles,” Chumley said. “We’re playing good basketball.”

The boys team pulled out a 34-32 win in overtime against the Fair War Eagles. The Panthers’ full game story will be in tomorrow’s edition.