Vilonia girls zone in for road victory


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Little Rock Christian’s Kaylee Hopper (left) fights for possession of the ball with Vilonia’s Lauren Patterson during Tuesday night’s game in Little Rock. Vilonia won 54-48.
(Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Justin Cunningham)

Vilonia Coach Alvin Riley got what he wanted out of his Lady Eagles on Tuesday night.

Senior forward Paige Kelley scored 15 points and pulled down seven rebounds as Vilonia grinded out a 54-48 victory over Class 5A No. 1 Little Rock Christian at Warrior Arena.

Junior guard Lauren Patterson finished with 13 points and Laney Mears, also a junior, had 11 points for the Lady Eagles (17-2, 5-1 5A-West), who are ranked No. 4 in Class 5A but led for more than three-fourths of the game to create a three-way tie for first place in the 5A-West with Little Rock Christian and Greenwood.

« To be able to come in here and beat a very good team like Little Rock Christian is big for us, » said Riley, whose team shot 53.8% (21 of 39) from the floor. « We’ve got a good team, too, but we had a game plan and executed it really well. I’m about as happy as I can be. »

Gallery: High School Basketball: Vilonia at Little Rock Christian

Junior Clara Grace Prater added 10 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals as Vilonia used a tightly packed zone to slow down a Little Rock Christian team that had won seven of its past eight games by 15 points or more.

« That ball just wouldn’t fall in that basket at all, » Little Rock Christian Coach Ronald Rogers said. « Early on, we got some very good looks, but we just didn’t make them.

« Hat’s off to Vilonia, though. They were well prepared for us and made shots. They literally came in and did what they needed to do to win, and we didn’t. »

The Lady Warriors (15-3, 5-1) were just 16 of 56 (28.5%) from the field, including 6 of 28 combined in the first and third quarters, where they were outscored 30-20. They did get 18 points, 13 rebounds and 3 blocks out of forward Wynter Rogers. and 10 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals from guard Ashton Elley.

Little Rock Christian scored the game’s first five points before a long three-pointer from Mears started a 10-0 run for the Lady Eagles. Vilonia established a 19-11 lead early in the second quarter after a stick-back from Kelley, but a blocked shot and layup from Rogers sparked an 11-3 flurry for the Lady Warriors that tied the game at 22-22.

Patterson hit two free throws before halftime to give Vilonia a 24-22 lead.

« They started to get some drives on us, and that got them going, » Riley said. « We knew it’d be tough, but we felt like we needed to stay in that zone because they’re so big, strong, athletic and quick. For the most part, we did a pretty good job of staying in front of them and forcing them to shoot off the move to kind of throw them off. »

Vilonia guard Lauren Patterson (3) dribbles past Little Rock Christian point guard Yasmin Ott during the fi rst quarter of the Lady Eagles’ 54-48 victory over the Lady Warriors on Tuesday. More photos are available at arkansasonline.com/129basketball/.
(Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Justin Cunningham)

During the first five minutes of the third quarter, the Lady Warriors missed 9 of 10 shots while the Lady Eagles hit 6 of 7. That disparity allowed Vilonia to build its lead to 38-27 after an 8-0 run that was started by a layup from Kelley.

Little Rock Christian did make several charges in the fourth. A free throw from Elley sliced the Lady Warriors’ deficit to 50-46 with just under a minute to play after a Rogers’ basket. But Prater found Kelley and Brandie Rottman for driving layups 25 seconds apart to finish off the victory.

5A-WEST BOYS

VILONIA 66,

LITTLE ROCK CHRISTIAN 54

A buzzer-beating shot from senior guard Landon Hill at the end of the first quarter sparked Vilonia to a road victory

Senior forward Austin Koonce scored 24 points and senior guard Tyler Moran had 15 for the Eagles (15-4, 4-2 5A-West), who stopped a two-game slide by fending off a fourth-quarter burst by Little Rock Christian. Sophomore guard Austin Myers added 12 points for Vilonia.

Junior guard Trey Jones had 20 points for the Warriors (9-7, 4-2), who trailed 55-39 with 5:01 to play but were within 59-52 with 2:23 remaining. Little Rock Christian had a chance to get closer but allowed Vilonia to score on a fast break after the Warriors missed a shot inside. Freshman guard Layden Blocker had 11 points for Little Rock Christian.

Sports on 01/29/2020

Print Headline: Vilonia girls zone in for road victory

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