February 27, 2013 Edition

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Hoxie senior boys advance to state



Hoxie's Seth Hart looks for someone to pass to as he is guarded by an Osceola player during the regional consolation game at Hoxie Mustang Gymnasium on Monday. The Mustangs advanced to state with a fourth-place regional finish after falling to Osceola 85-64.
Submitted Photo ~ David Dobbs

Nathan Hibbard
Staff Writer

The Hoxie Mustangs basketball team earned a trip to the state tournament with a 53-47 victory over Valley Springs in the first round of the 3A Region 3 Tournament on Feb. 20 at The Hoxie Mustangs Gymnasium.

The 3A State Tournament is being played at Riverview High School in Searcy. Hoxie was scheduled to take on Harding Academy on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.

Hoxie raced to a 14-4 advantage in the first quarter and led 25-14 at halftime. The Mustangs led 39-29 entering the fourth quarter and held off the Tigers in the final period.

Colton Watson scored 19 points, and Jacob Defries added 12 for the Mustangs.

Semifinals

The win over Valley Springs set up a semifinal rematch between Hoxie and the Manila Lions. The Mustangs defeated Manila in the district semifinals a week earlier.

The Lions pounced on the Mustangs early, grabbing a 15-7 lead in the first quarter. Hoxie rallied in the second period behind Watson, who hit four three-pointers in the period, and outscored the Lions 19-11 to knot the game at 26-26 at the intermission.

Manila heated up from the field in the third quarter, hitting eight-of-13 shots to move out to a 48-42 lead at the end of the period.

The Lions increased the lead to 60-52 in the fourth quarter, but a three-pointer and two free throws by Watson brought the Mustangs to within 60-57 with two minutes remaining.

Manila stretched the lead back to six, 63-57, when a three-pointer by Tristan Privett closed the gap to 63-60. The Mustangs had the ball with a chance to tie, but a three-point shot was off the mark and Manila responded with a basket for a 65-60 lead. The Lions went six-of-six from the free-throw line in the final minute to secure the win.

Watson led the Mustangs with 39 points.

Consolation game

The loss to Manila sent the Mustangs into Monday's third-place game against Osceola.

Tamas Bruce scored 36 points to lead the Seminoles to an 85-64 victory. Hoxie trailed by just 38-31 at halftime and were within seven points, at 59-52, after three periods. Osceola dominated the final period, outscoring the Mustangs 26-12 in the period pull away for the win.

Watson scored 21 points, and Slade Sullens added 12 points for Hoxie.

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