Oulch puts ouch on Jackets

Benton junior Sawyer Oulch looks to put up a shot during Tuesday’s 54-31 blowout win over Sheridan in the 6A West Tournament semifinals at Benton Arena. Oulch led all scorers with 30 points as Benton will travel to Pearcy to take on the No. 1 seed Lake Hamilton Wolves in the West title match Saturday. GREG DAVIS/Special to The Saline Courier
Tony Lenahan
Sports Editor

Averaging 3.1 points per game before Tuesday’s 6A West Tournament semifinals game, Benton junior Sawyer Oulch hit a three to start the second quarter and didn’t stop. Oulch scored 20 of the Panthers’ 22 points in the second quarter and scored a career-high 30 for the game to help the Panthers to a 54-31 blowout revenge win over the Sheridan Yellowjackets Tuesday at Benton Arena.
The win for the West No. 2 Panthers will set them up against the West No. 1 Lake Hamilton Wolves, which beat El Dorado 60-41 in the semis, for a West title matchup Saturday in Pearcy.
The Panthers led just 6-4 after one quarter, but Oulch’s three to start the second began an 8-0 run for a 16-4 lead with 4:46 left in the half.
“It was a slow start, just really sluggish and that’s a credit to Sheridan being ready to play and us probably not being ready,” Benton Coach Dexter Hendrix said, “but I can’t tell you how proud I am of Sawyer, not just for scoring the basketball, but just his effort and his intensity. He held Tyler Cleveland, who just came off a 42-point performance, to four points on one end and then scoring 30 on the other. Just a special night.
“One thing I love about Sawyer is he brings it every day. He takes coaching to improve. I’d like to say that was all us coaching, but he just played outstanding.”
The Panthers will take on the 26-4 Lake Hamilton Wolves Saturday at 6 p.m.