March 15, 2017 Edition

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Lady Mustangs are
state champions

Hoxie's Devyn Pollard goes up for a shot as teammate Sydney Gillham sets up under the goal during the Lady Mustangs victory in the championship game of the Class 3A State Basketball Tournament in Hot Springs on Friday night. Hoxie won the title with a 51-40 victory over Valley Springs. Pollard led the Lady Mustangs in the final with 17 points.
Submitted Photo ~ Rachel Goff

The Hoxie Lady Mustangs brought home the school's first-ever basketball state championship by defeating the Valley Springs Lady Tigers in the finals of the Girls 3A State Tournament on Friday at Hot Springs.

Hoxie trailed 31-27 after three quarters on Friday, but nearly doubled their point production in the final period, outscoring the Lady Tigers 24-9 to take the win.

The Lady Mustangs led 9-8 at the end of the first quarter and 18-16 at halftime before Valley Springs' offense came to life in the third quarter. The Lady Tigers outscored Hoxie 15-9 in the period to take a 31-27 lead after three quarters.

After Hoxie cut the lead to 31-29, Kaitlin Henson converted a three-point play to put the Lady Mustangs ahead for good, 32-31, with 4:53 to play. Hoxie's defense helped seal the victory, as they held Valley Springs without a field goal during a seven-minute stretch in the fourth quarter. The Lady Mustangs went on a 13-1 run during that span to increase their lead to 42-32.

Back-to-back three-pointers by Ashlynn Taylor brought the Lady Tigers to within 47-40 with 23 seconds left, but Hoxie closed the game out with a pair of free throws by Devyn Pollard and a rebound basket by Bekah Kopp to set the final score.

The victory was Hoxie's second over the defending state champions in less than two weeks, after defeating the Lady Tiger in the 3A Region 3 finals on Feb. 25.

Hoxie sophomore Sydney Gillham was named the 3A Most Valuable Player. She finished with 12 points, 17 rebounds (16 on the defensive boards), two blocks, two assists and two steals.

Pollard led Hoxie with a team-high 17 points and had five rebounds and three steals. Henson had 12 points and two rebounds. Kopp finished with five points and two rebounds, and Emily Davis also contributed five points.

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