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Lady Tigers Punch Ticket to 1A State Tournament

By Norm Betz, Editor                                                                                                    3/4/15

The Acorn Lady Tigers punched their ticket to the 1A State Tournament with a 64-35 victory over Trinity Christian in the first-round of the 1A Region 4 Tournament. Senior Jessica Looney almost single-handedly defeated the Lady Warriors, as she went off for 31 points on the night. Trinity Christian’s leading scorer, Scarlett Leeper finished with 14 points.

Looney was unconscious in the opening quarter putting 20 points on the board. Looney knocked one down from three-point land, made seven buckets from the field, and added three-of-five from the line. Seniors Misty Oglesby and Tara Warrington, along with sophomore Morgan Fagan each had buckets, while senior Adrianna Howard connected on two-of-two from the charity stripe. Acorn led Trinity Christian 28-6 after the opening quarter. 

Howard grabbed the reigns and led the Lady Tigers with five points in the second quarter, including a trifecta. Looney added a bucket and two-of-two from the line, while Warrington and juniors Teagan Vann and Taylor Deramus each added buckets to round out the first half scoring. Acorn led Trinity Christian 43-20 at the half. 

The Lady Tigers doubled up the Lady Warriors, 14-7, in the third quarter to enjoy a 30 point lead, 57-27, heading into the final quarter. Looney led Acorn with seven points, including another three-ball. Torrie Barrett added four points, while Howard added a bucket. Fagan rounded out the scoring hitting one-of-two from the stripe. 

Trinity Christian did outscore Acorn in the final quarter but was eliminated from post season action with a 64-35 loss to the Lady Tigers. Macie Adams converted a three-point play the old-fashioned way to lead the Lady Tigers scoring in the final stanza. Deramus and Faith Hill each contributed two points in the fourth. 

Jessica Looney led all scorers with an impressive 31 points. Adrianna Howard finished with nine points, while Taylor Deramus, Tara Warrington, and Torrie Barrett each finished with four points. Macie Adams and Morgan Fagan each added three points, while Faith Hill, Misty Oglesby and Teagan Vann each finished with two points. The Lady Tigers shot 56% (9-of-16) from the line, while the Lady Warriors shot 53% (9-of-17) from the stripe. 

The Lady Tigers next opponent was the Lady Raiders of Sparkman. 
Lady Tigers Get Raided, 65-62

By Norm Betz, Editor                                                                                                    3/4/15

The Acorn Lady Tigers and the Lady Raiders of Sparkman were pretty evenly matched and the game really came down to who would have the last possession. Ultimately, Acorn fell to Sparkman, 65-62. Acorn senior Jessica Looney led all scorers with 28 points. Sparkman’s Alexis Pigg led the Lady Raiders with 20 points. 

“We played hard,” said Lady Tigers head coach Mike Jackson. “Sometimes it just hard to stop a girl with her size.”

The Lady Tigers trailed Sparkman 17-14 at the end of the first. Looney led the way with six points including one from three-point land. Senior Misty Oglesby tossed in a bucket and hit two-of-two from the line, while senior Adrianna Howard and sophomore Morgan Fagan each finished with two points. 

Acorn was outscored in the second quarter, 12-11 and trailed Sparkman, 29-25 at the half. Junior Teagan Vann led the Lady Tigers with six points, hitting a pair from the field and a pair from the line. Looney drilled a three-pointer and Oglesby added a pair from the charity stripe. 

The Lady Tigers outscored the Lady Raiders 19-15 in the third quarter to knot the score at 44-all when the horn sounded. Looney put up seven points in the third, a trey, a bucket, and two-of-two from the stripe. Oglesby added a three-ball of her own and added a bucket, while Howard added two from the field. Senior Tara Warrington closed out the third quarter scoring with three points. 

“We matched each other basket for basket and three-pointer for three-pointer the entire second half,” explained Jackson. “Ultimately it really came down to the last possession of the game.”

The Lady Raiders opened the fourth hitting a three-pointer, to which Looney matched :14 later. Howard added a lay-up and Oglesby locked the score at 51-51 on a 14-foot baseline jumper with 5:20 to play. Sparkman added a bucket and Vann matched the points hitting a pair from the line. Looney put the Lady Tigers up 55-53 with a 14-foot jumper, but the Lady Raiders answered with a three-pointer and a bucket. Once again Acorn was ready as Looney hit one from beyond the arc to tie the score at 58-all with 3:16 to play. Sparkman added a bucket and Looney answered again with driving lay-up with 2:35 remaining in the game. The Lady Raiders only made one-of-two from the line and Looney gave the Lady Tigers a 62-61 lead after sinking a pair from the line with :15.4 left in the contest. An inbound steal by the Lady Raiders ultimately sealed the deal from Sparkman as they went on to win the contest, 65-62. 

“We can’t win them all,” said Jackson. “We knew what they were going to try and do, so we put our tallest girl out there, but she got the ball and we fouled.”

Jessica Looney led all scorers with 28 points, Misty Oglesby finished with 13 points, Teagan Vann and Adrianna Howard each added eight points, Tara Warrington added three points, and Morgan Fagan rounded out the scoring with two points. The Lady Tigers shot 74% (14-of-19) from the line, while the Lady Raiders shot a dismal 43% (6-of-14). 

The loss sent the Lady Tigers to the consolation third place game against the Caddo Hills Lady Indians. 
Lady Tiger No. 3 Seed for 1A State Tourney

By Norm Betz, Editor                                                                                                    3/4/15

The Acorn Lady Tigers secured the No. 3 seed for the 1A State Tournament, coming out of the 1A Region 4 Tournament with a 52-48 victory over conference opponent, Caddo Hills. Senior Jessica Looney led all scorers in the contest with 20 points. 

The Lady Tigers got off to a slow start and trailed early, 4-0, before tying the game and going on to lead, 10-8 at the end of the first quarter. Looney and senior Misty Oglesby split the points in the opening quarter. Looney had a pair of buckets and added one-of-two from the line, while Oglesby knocked down a 15-footer and then added a three-pointer. 

The Lady Indians outscored the Lady Tigers, 12-8, in the first five minutes of the second quarter to grab their second lead of the game, 20-18. Looney hit a 12-foot jumper, junior Teagan Vann added a 10-foot rebound jumper, junior Ashley Long grabbed a rebound and took it coast-to-coast for a lay-up, while Oglesby converted the one and bonus. Acorn finished out the second making four-of-seven from the charity stripe, while Caddo Hills added a pair of buckets to make the halftime score, 24-22 favoring the Lady Indians. Looney hit two-of-three from the line, senior Tara Warrington and sophomore Morgan Fagan each hit one-of-two from the stripe to round out the opening half scoring. 

The lead changed hands six different times in the third quarter with Caddo Hills holding on to a 41-35 lead as the horn sounded to end the third. The Lady Indians outscored the Lady Tigers 17-13 in the quarter. Looney drilled a three-pointer to start off the scoring, added one-of-two from the line and then converted a three-point play the old-fashioned way to lead the Lady Tigers in the third. Oglesby also made a lay-up and added a free throw for the three-point play, while senior Adrianna Howard added a 14-foot floater from the paint. Fagan rounded out the third quarter scoring for the Lady Tigers hitting one-of-two from the charity stripe. 

Acorn started off the final quarter on a 7-1 mini run to lock the score at 42-all with 5:13 left to play. Looney connected on four-of-four from the line on the run before fouling out of the game. Howard drained one from beyond the arc to round out the mini run. The Lady Tigers grabbed a 48-45 lead with 1:42 to play and Acorn would not relinquish that lead for the remainder of the contest. The Lady Tigers ultimately went on to win the game, 52-48. Warrington put a rebound back up and in and later added one-of-two from the line in the final two minutes. Oglesby tossed in a lay-up, while Long and Howard each connected on one-of-two from the line, to round out the fourth quarter scoring. 

Jessica Looney led all scorers with 20 points, Misty Oglesby finished with 12 points, Adrianna Howard finished with six points, Morgan Fagan added five points, Tara Warrington added four points, Ashley Long finished with three points, and Teagan Vann was good for two points for the Lady Tigers. Acorn shot 58% (19-of-33) from the charity stripe, while Caddo Hills connected on 57% (8-of-14).

With the victory, the Lady Tiger grabbed the No. 3 seed from region 4 and will play the No. 2 seed from region 3, Wonderview on Thursday, March 5th at 1:00 p.m. The 1A State Tournament will be held at Nashville High School, but will be hosted by Kirby High School. 
Tigers Headed to State for the First Time in 39 Years

By Norm Betz, Editor                                                                                                    3/4/15

One thing is for sure, when you sit down to watch an Acorn Tigers basketball game, it’s guaranteed to be exciting. The No. 3 seed from District 7W headed to Emerson, Arkansas with the hopes of doing something that hasn’t been done at Acorn in 39 years, make it to the 1A State Tournament. It took an overtime game, but with their backs against the wall, the Tigers stepped up to defeat No. 2 seed from District 7E, Bradley. Knotted at 60-all, the Tigers were determined to win the opening round at regionals, which in turn would qualify them for the state tournament. Acorn outscored Bradley 10-6 in overtime to thrust them into the 1A State Tournament, for the first time since 1976, with a 70-66 victory.

Acorn outscored Bradley in the opening quarter 16-6. Senior Sky Jackson led the Tigers with 10 points, hitting four buckets from the field and adding two-of-two from the line. Senior Morgan Hair drained a three-pointer, while sophomore Aaron Bissell added a bucket of his own. Senior Justin Hogan rounded out the opening quarter scoring hitting one-of-two from the charity stripe.

The Tigers were outscored by the Bears in the second quarter, 24-16, but Acorn took a 32-30 lead to the locker room at halftime. Five different Tigers put their names in the score book in the second. Hair tossed in a basket and added a pair from the line, while Hogan and junior Ashton Pardun each added buckets and made two-of-three from the charity stripe. Sophomore Daniel Cottrell added a bucket, while Jackson made one from the field, but missed one from the line. 

Bradley outscored Acorn for the second straight quarter, 18-13, and took a 48-45 lead at the end of the third. Pardun led the Tigers with six points, Hogan added four points, while Jackson was good for a bucket and a free throw. 

With their eyes set on the goal of being the team to do something that hasn’t been done in 39 years, the Tigers outscored the Bears in the fourth quarter, 15-12, thus locking the score at 60-all as regulation time expired. Jackson led the Tigers with seven points, three buckets and one-of-four from the line. Cottrell added a pair of buckets, while Hair and Hogan each added a basket. 

Jackson, once again took a leadership role in the OT, guiding the Tigers with a bucket and hitting three-of-four from the stripe. Hogan added a bucket and made one-of-two from the line, while Bissell rounded out the free basketball quarter with a bucket. Acorn outscored Bradley 10-6 in the OT to secure the coveted spot in the 1A State Championship. 

Sky Jackson led all scorers with 27 points, while Bradley’s Jack Cornell finished with 26 points. Justin Hogan finished with 14 points, Ashton Pardun added 10 points, Morgan Hair finished with nine points, Daniel Cottrell finished with six points, while Aaron Bissell rounded out the Acorn scoring with four points. Acorn shot 52% (15-of-29) from the line, while the Bears shot 36% (4-of-11) from the charity stripe. 

With the win, Acorn advanced to the 1A Region 4 Semifinals against Kirby.
Tigers Fall to Trojans in Semifinals

By Norm Betz, Editor                                                                                                    3/4/15

The Acorn Tigers never really gelled in the 3A Region 4 Semifinals against Kirby, in fact, the Tigers never led, and ultimately fell to the Trojans, 79-55.

Kirby outscored Acorn in the opening quarter 19-13 and led by as many as 12 points with less than three minutes to play, but the Tigers fought back and outscored the Trojans 8-4 in the final two and a half minutes. Senior Justin Hogan led the Tigers with a three-ball and a rebound bucket. Senior Sky Jackson hit a contested 15-foot jumper and later added a 12-foot floater, while senior Morgan Hair drained one from beyond the arc with 1:25 to play. Junior Ashton Pardun rounded out the first quarter scoring hitting one-of-two from the line. 

The Trojans doubled up the Tigers in the second quarter, 19-8 and led 37-22 at the half. Hair led the Tigers hitting his second and third three-pointers of the game, while Jackson was the only other Tiger to make a basket from the field. Hogan hit one-of-two from the charity stripe to round out the second quarter scoring. 

Kirby continued to add to their lead in the third quarter, outscoring Acorn 17-14, to lead 54-36, headed into the final quarter of play. Hair led the Tigers for the second straight quarter with seven points, including his fourth trifecta of the contest. Jackson scored five points, including a three-point play the old-fashioned way. Hogan rounded out the scoring for the second straight quarter with a baseline lay-up. 

The Trojans outscored the Tigers in the final quarter 25-19 to advance to the championship game with a 79-55 win. Both teams elected to go to bench players with five minutes left in the contest, as Kirby was leading by 25 points, 69-44. Sophomore Matt Davis led the Tigers in the final stanza with eight points, hitting a pair from the field and knocking down four-of-four from the stripe. Hair added a pair of fast break lay-ups earlier in the quarter, while sophomore Logan Frost put his name in the books hitting three-of-four from the line. Jackson dropped in the first bucket of the quarter, nailing a 14-footer that he kissed off the glass, while junior Ethan Bird rounded out the scoring with a 12-foot bank shot of his own. 

Morgan Hair led the Tiger scoring with 20 points, including four from three-point land. Sky Jackson finished with 11 points, while Justin Hogan and Matt Davis each added eight points. Logan Frost finished with three points, while Ethan Bird and Daniel Cottrell each finished with two points. The Tigers shot 71% (12-of-17) from the line, while the Trojans shot 67% (10-of-15).

With the loss, Acorn played Nevada in the consolation third place game. The Tigers fell to the Blue Jays, 51-36 and will be the No. 4 seed in the 1A State Tournament. Acorn will battle Wonderview in the first-round of the state tournament on Tuesday, March 3rd at 2:30 p.m. The 1A State Tournament is hosted by Kirby, with games being played at Nashville High School.
Eagles No. 2 Seed for 3A State Tournament

By Norm Betz, Editor                                                                                          
The Cossatot River Eagles headed to the 3A Region 4 Tournament as the No. 3 seed out of District 7 and left Fordyce, Arkansas with a No. 2 seed heading to the 3A State Tournament. Cossatot River lost to McGehee in the Regional Championship, 45-40, to finish as the regional runner-up.

The Eagles battled their way to the championship by defeating teams that were ranked higher than them heading coming out of the district tournament. Cossatot River’s first-round match-up was against the No. 2 seed out of District 8, Smackover. The Eagles defeated the Buckaroos, 54-50 to advance to the semifinals and thus securing a spot in the 3A State Championship. The Eagles next opponent was the No. 1 seed out of their own District 7, Prescott. Once again the underdog roll fit Cossatot River, as they defeated the Curley Wolves, 65-59, to advance to the 3A Region 4 Championship. The Eagles ultimately fell to McGehee in the Championship, 45-40, but locked up a No. 2 seed for the 3A State Tournament. 

Five Eagles put their names in the score book, with senior Joshua Jordan leading the way with 13 points. Senior Ben Counts finished with 12 points, Sophomore Cody Baker tossed in nine points, senior Edgar Gonzalez added four points, and sophomore Marco Ramirez was good for two points.

Cossatot River scored the first basket of the contest, when Gonzalez grabbed a rebound and put it back up and in for the Eagles only lead of the opening quarter. McGehee lead by two at the end of the first, 13-11. Baker drilled his first of three three-pointers in the game to cut the Owls lead to one, 6-5 with 4:10 to play in the quarter. One minute later, Ramirez grabbed his only points of the contest on a lay-up to cut the lead to 9-7. Counts provided the last two buckets for Cossatot River, the first a driving lay-up and then a 15-foot jumper. McGehee led by four points three different times in the first, but the lead was just two, 13-11, when the quarter expired.

The Eagles outscored the Owls 11-6 in the second quarter to take a 22-19 lead to the locker room at halftime. Baker stated off the scoring hitting one from beyond the arc to cut the Owls lead to one, 15-14. Jordan knocked down a pair from the line to give Cossatot River their second lead of the game, 16-15 with 5:27 left in the second. The Eagles held onto the lead for the rest of the quarter as Counts drilled a 14-foot baseline jumper and later added a driving lay-up. Gonzalez snatched a rebound and laid it in off the glass to round out the second quarter scoring for Cossatot River. 

Unfortunately, the Owls came out in the third quarter and flipped the second quarter scoring, outscoring the Eagles 11-6, to take a 30-28 lead at the end of the third. Cossatot River led on two different occasions, 25-23 and 26-25. Jordan provided both leads, one was from three-point land, and the other was from the charity stripe. In fact, Jordan was the only Eagle to score in the third, as he later threw in lay-up to cut the lead to two points as the horn sounded.

The Eagles grabbed the lead twice in the final quarter but just couldn’t contain the Owls as they went on to defeat Cossatot River, 45-40. Baker drilled a pair of threes that gave the Eagles the lead both times in the quarter. Counts added a pair of bucket during that time frame, one on a 14-foot turnaround jumper and the other via a lay-up. Baker’s second trifecta of the quarter put Cossatot River up 38-37 with 3:40 to play. The Eagles last points of the game came with 1:17 to play, when Jordan made a pair of free throws to cut the Owls lead to 41-40. McGehee closed out the game hitting a lay-up and making two-of-four from the charity stripe to win the championship, 45-40.

Joshua Jordan led the Eagles with 13 points. Ben Counts added 12 points, Cody Baker finished with nine points, Edgar Gonzalez finished with four points, and Marco Ramirez rounded out the Cossatot River scoring with two points. The Eagles only went to the line six times in the contest, while the Owls shot 20 free throws. Cossatot River (Jordan shot all six free throws) shot 83% from the line, while McGehee shot 60%, hitting 12-of-20 from the stripe. 

Cossatot River will be hosting the 3A State Tournament, which is set to run from March 3rd to March 7th. The Eagles will be the No. 2 seed from region 4 and will face the No. 3 seeded Flippin Bobcats from region 3, on Thursday, March 5th, with tip-off slated for 2:30 p.m.
Three Bearcats Sign Letters of Intent

By Norm Betz, Editor                                                                                                    3/4/15

Three of the Mena Bearcats that were instrumental in the run to the 4A State Championship game this past season, have signed letters of intent to attend college and continue to play football at the next level. 

“I’m so proud of these young men,” exclaimed Mena Bearcats head coach Tim Harper. “They’ve really worked hard and are now being rewarded for all their hard work.”

Mena Bearcats quarterback, Sage Kesterson, has signed his letter of intent to play at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Kesterson, 6’ 0” and a 180 lbs, finished his high school career with 3,143 passing yards and 1,079 rushing yards . Kesterson threw 30 touchdown passes over his four years at Mena High School. Kesterson was named All-Conference three times and was also named to the All-State Team. Kesterson was recruited as a quarterback. 

Kesterson will join a program rich in tradition and headed in the right direction. Ouachita finished last season with a perfect 10-0 regular season for the first time in school history and won the Great American Conference outright. The program boasts a 90% graduation rate of football players that play out their eligibility. The Tigers are the only university in the state of Arkansas to have six consecutive winning seasons, as well as, the only Division II University in the state to have been ranked in the AFCA Top 25 five of the last six years.

Sage Kesterson is the son of Brian and Sonja.

It doesn’t get much better than two high school football teammates being able to play together in college. That’s exactly what seniors Luke Bowser and Jackson Daugherty will be doing next year, as they both have signed letters of intent to attend and play football for Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. 

“It’s great that Luke and Jackson will be standing on the same sideline and continue to be teammates at the next level,” said Harper. “We’re not done here either, I want to get more of these young men on the college sidelines in the future.”

Bowser, the 6’0” 225 lbs. senior was recruited to play tight-end for the Bisons. While at Mena, Bowser had playing time at tight-end, defensive end and defensive tackle but will concentrate on the tight-end position for Harding University. Bowser has a 23.8” vertical, benches 300 lbs and squats 375 lbs. 

Luke Bowser is the son of Brian and Stacy.

Jackson Daugherty, the 5’9” 180 lbs senior was recruited to play running back for the Bisons. While a Bearcat, Daugherty played running back and defensive strong safety. Daugherty has a 29” vertical, runs a 4.5 40-yard dash, benches 240 lbs and squats 340 lbs. 

Jackson Daugherty is the son of Roger and Tina.

Bowser and Daugherty are joining a team that received their highest year-end ranking this past season since joining the NCAA in 1997. Harding finished No. 17 in the final season poll with a record of 9-2. The Bisons reached the NCAA Division II Playoffs for the second time in the last three seasons. Since 2012, Harding University sports an overall record of 27-6 and has played in the postseason three consecutive years.

One of the coolest things for these three young men will take place on October 3, 2015, when Harding University travels to Ouachita Baptist University to do battle in the Great American Conference.