Pine Bluff can’t catch up to Gonzaga

PINE BLUFF — Gonzaga of Washington, D.C. looked every bit like the nationally-ranked team that it is Thursday night.

Nyk Lewis had 23 points and 8 assists, as the Eagles outlasted Pine Bluff 92-70 in the semifinals of the King Cotton Holiday Classic at the Pine Bluff Convention Center.

Derek Dixon scored 21 points, while Connor Amorosi and Alex Touomou both had 11 points for the Eagles, who finally broke free by outscoring the Zebras 25-10 in the fourth quarter. William Harper and Christian Gurdak each added 10 points.

Courtney Crutchfield had 32 points, and Deriyon Gray-don ended with 14 points for Pine Bluff (9-3), which kept things tight for three quarters.

Gonzaga (10-0), which has nine players standing 6-4 or taller on its roster, didn’t use its height to build an early lead. Instead, it put the Zebras in a hole by drilling shots from the outside.

Th e E a g l e s h i t f ive three-pointers in the game’s first 11 minutes. Their final one — a 23-footer from Dixon — came during a 10-0, second-quarter run that gave them a 40-23 lead.

But Pine Bluff didn’t buckle and scuffled back by halftime behind Crutchfield, who had 10 of his 17 first-half points during the second quarter. His stick-back had the Zebras within 41-33 with 27.5 seconds left, but a back-door basket from Dixon allowed the Eagles to take a 43-33 lead into the locker room.

Gonzaga threatened to put the game out of reach in the third quarter when it went ahead 61-44 with just under three minutes remaining. Crutchfield’s lay-up started a 16-4 burst, capped by a double-pumping three-pointer at the buzzer, to cut Pine Bluff’s deficit to 65-60.

However, the Eagles began to wear down the Zebras, especially after a huge swing early in the fourth. Pine Bluff trailed 70-64 and had a chance to inch closer but missed a short 5-footer. Gonzaga grabbed the rebound and raced down the floor where Dixon scored on a sweeping basket to start a 16-2 run that allowed it to book a spot in today’s title game.


Four players landed in double figures for Westminster (8-2), which withstood a halftime deficit and a monster 34-point outing from Central’s Annor Boateng to advance to a championship date with Gonzaga, D.C.

The Lions led 19-15 after one quarter but fell into a 34-25 hole by halftime, mainly due to Boateng’s 21-point half. Westminster roared ahead in the third quarter with an 18-4 flurry, with Alex Constanza scoring eight of those points. Boateng answered with four consecutive free throws during a key sequence to cut the Tigers’ hole to 43-42, but the Lions held Central to just two field goals over the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter while getting crucial buckets from several players to win it.

Constanza scored 19 points, and both Alex Lloyd and Jerimiah Police finished with 14 points each for Westminster. Dwayne Wimbley also had 13 points.

Luke Moore added nine points for Central (12-2).


A.D. Gray punched in 17 points and 10 rebounds as Benton (13-3) clawed out a victory.

Terrion Burgess had 15 points and 12 rebounds, and Dea’Juan Ellis came off the bench to provide 10 points. Elam Shelby and Harrison Pickett had nine points each for the Panthers, who ran off 10 of the first 12 points of the fourth quarter to establish a 13-point lead.

Jared Harris dropped 29 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists for Silsbee (11-7). Dre’lon Miller had 20 points, and Payton Jones followed with 10 points.


Landren Blocker had 20 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists in a bounce-back game for Little Rock Christian (11-4). Jameel Wesley hit four three-pointers and ended with 19 points, and JoJo Hollaway had 10 points for the Warriors, who closed the first half on a 13-2 run before scoring 11 of the first 17 points of the third quarter.

Nigel Thomas scored 16 points, and Keenan Gray had 12 points for Mc-Donough (11-2).


Jai’Chaunn Hayes’ three-pointer at the buzzer hit the back of the rim as time expired, allowing Pinson Valley (11-6) to eek out a win.

Clyde Walters had 20 points, including a pair of free throws with 11 seconds left to push the Indians’ lead to three. Cam Frost had 10 points for Pinson Valley as well.

Hayes finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds for White Hall (8-7), which came back from an 11-point, third-quarter deficit to tie the game at 37-37 in the fourth quarter. Jordan Rasberry had 14 points for the Bulldogs. White Hall shot just 12 of 52 (23.1%) while Pinson Valley was 14 of 51 (27.5%).


St. Frances (11-4) held its counterparts to just three points in the second quarter and never looked back.

Josiah Legree and Trent Egbiremolen each had 15 points for the Panthers, who trailed 15-11 after opening period but outscored Sandy Creek (8-2) 15-3 in the next eight minutes to move out front. St. Frances led 44-29 after three quarters. Cameron Flamer provided 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Panthers.

Jacobi Robinson led the Patriots with 15 points while Amari Brown added 13 points.


University of Arkansas target Tounde Yessoufou scored a tournament record 46 points as St. Joseph (11-1) shot 61% (35 of 57) and led from start to finish.

Yessoufou, a 6-5 junior, was 19 of 34 (55.9%) shooting and added 10 rebounds. Julius Price had 30 points, 9 assists and 5 rebounds for the Vikings. B.J. Davis-Ray ended with 26 points for Duncanville (5-8). Kayden Edwards, who’s also being recruited by Arkansas, tossed in 25 points.


Josh Reed’s running three-pointer was off at the horn as Booker T. Washington (13-3) bounced back from Wednesday’s first-round loss.

Chris McDermontt had 25 points and 27 rebounds, and Abraham Kirksey scored 15 points in the win for the Eagles, who were down by double figures before getting within 59-55 by the end of the third quarter. A free throw by Odis Carter with 7:30 to go in the game gave Booker T. Washington a 60-59 lead, and it was able to hold on from there. Carter also scored 25 points.

Jalil Bethea scored 23 points, and Reed had 22 points for Archbishop Wood (2-5).

King Cotton Holiday Classic


Pinson Valley, Ala. 48, White Hall 45 Benton 71, Silsbee, Texas 65 Booker T. Washington 79, Archbishop Wood, Pa. 77 Little Rock Christian 65, McDonough, Ga. 50 St. Joseph, Calif. 94, Duncanville, Texas 77 St. Frances, Md. 60, Sandy Creek, Ga. 46 Gonzaga, D.C. 92, Pine Bluff 70 Westminster, Fla. 62, Little Rock Central 49


McDonough, Ga. vs. White Hall, 10 a.m. Sandy Creek, Ga. vs. Pinson Valley, Ala., 11:30 a.m. Duncanville, Texas vs. Silsbee, Texas, 1 p.m. Benton vs. Archbishop Wood, Pa., 2:30 p.m. Little Rock Christian vs. Booker T. Washington, Texas, 4 p.m.

St. Joseph, Calif. vs. Little Rock Central, 5:30 p.m. Gonzaga, D.C.

vs. Westminster, Fla., 7 p.m. St. Frances, Md. vs. Pine Bluff, 8:45 p.m.