Panthers take down Trojans

Benton junior Sawyer Oulch, 3, puts up a shot in a 63-50 win over the Hot Springs Trojans on Thursday at Benton Arena. Oulch scored but two points but had a good all-around game.  GREG DAVIS/Special to The Saline Courier
Tony Lenahan
Sports Editor

After playing to a 1-point victory over Wynne in Wednesday’s opening day of the Benton Holiday Classic, the Benton Panthers routed the Hot Springs Trojans Thursday on Day 2, winning 63-50, and will take on the Prescott Curley Wolves in Saturday’s finale of the Classic. Benton defeated Prescott 52-28 last Friday at Benton Arena.
“We got a good win over a very, very athletic Hot Springs team,” Benton Coach Dexter Hendrix said.
The Panthers (8-2) wasted little time getting on top of Hot Springs as Benton led 18-3 after one quarter of play.
“It was probably the best quarter of basketball we’ve played all season,” Hendrix said. “It was really, really clean basketball. Playing the game the right way, executed really well offensively. Shot a high percentage. Defensively, I thought we did a really good job of taking away their strengths - rebounding and finishing plays on both ends of the floor.”
The Trojans would fight back a bit in the second quarter to make it a 29-16 halftime lead for the Panthers, and Hot Springs would make a run to start the third quarter, but Benton regrouped to lead 47-31 going into the final quarter.
“They had a run to start the third quarter,” Hendrix said. “That’s something we’re looking to improve on - coming out of halftime and having a strong beginning of the third quarter and second half. We struggle with that. That’s something we definitely have to improve on. Other than that, we almost played a complete game there.
Benton will tip off with Prescott at 5 p.m. Saturday in the Classic’s final day, following the Lady Panthers at 3:30.