The Arkadelphia Badgers walked away with the consolation trophy from the 2013 Coke Classic hosted by Fort Smith Northside over the weekend after going 2-1 against three 7A teams.
North Little Rock 78, Arkadelphia 46
The Badgers had their toughest opponent to date in the first round of the Coke Classic facing the North Little Rock Wildcats, who are ranked number 43 in the nation.
The Wildcats jumped to a 20-8 lead in the opening quarter, and they stretched their lead to 50-28 by the halftime buzzer.
The Badgers added nine in the third, but North Little Rock put up another 20 for a 70-37 lead with eight minutes to go.
The Wildcats were only able to put up eight as the Badgers added nine to set the final.
Mark Brazil led the Badgers with 12 points, and he earned a double-double by grabbing 13 rebounds.
Jakahari Howell had 10 points, and Adam Cooper added nine.
Kris Oliver had three assists and three steals in the game.
Head coach Donald Williams was impressed with his team's performance.
"I thought we played pretty good," he said. "[North Little Rock] had the best defense I've seen. We rebounded well. They just overpowered us. Their core team has been playing AAU ball together for years, and they have been in the gym since August."
The Badgers shot 42 percent from the field.
Arkadelphia 57, Fort Smith Southside 41
The loss to the Wildcats put the Badgers in the consolation semi-finals against the Fort Smith Southside Rebels.
The Badgers jumped to a 12-8 lead in the first quarter, but the Rebels made a comeback in the second to cut their deficit to two, 21-19.
After the break, the Badgers regained their stride, adding 14 while allowing six in the third stanza for a 35-25 lead, before outscoring the Rebels 22-16 in the final eight minutes to secure the 57-41 win.
Bryant Robinson had an amazing game, putting up 26 points and grabbing 13 rebounds to pick up his first double-double of the season.
Oliver had 17 points, eight boards and four steals.
Nathan Carter put up 12 points, and Howell had eight boards and three assists.
"We only had 10 turnovers in the game," Williams said. "We played really well against a good Southside team. It was one of our best games all year. It's hard to go play against the home team when you're so far from home. They had all their fans, pep squad and cheerleaders there. We executed our offense well, and we played a good defense."
The Badgers shot 45 percent from the field, and they hit 52 percent of their shots from the free throw line.
Page 2 of 2 - Arkadelphia 71, Bryant 66
The win over Southside put the Badgers in the consolation finals against the Bryant Hornets.
The Badgers took control of the game early, outscoring the Hornets 17-13 in the opening period.
Both teams added 17 in the second, leaving the Badgers with a four-point lead at the half, 34-30.
After the break, the Hornets came out hot, putting up 19 while holding the Badgers to 17 to cut their deficit to two, 51-49.
The Badgers stuck it out in the final eight minutes, however, outscoring the Hornets again to secure the 71-66 win.
Brazil led the Badgers with 14 points and 12 rebounds to pick up a double-double.
Oliver also had 14 points, and he dished out five assists.
Robinson had 11 points, seven rebounds and four steals.
Carter had 10 points with five boards, and Howell had five rebounds.
"We shot well, but we left a lot of points on the line," Williams said. "We held our turnovers to a minimum against a team that pressured us hard all night long. I am very pleased with the effort. We competed well, and we played hard. To play three 7A schools and go 2-1 is good. This was a good tournament and a good win for us. We competed, and that is all that I asked of them."
The Badgers advanced to 8-3 after the tournament. They will travel to Ashdown Friday to face the Panthers in their second conference game of the season. Tip-off will follow a Junior Varsity game and a Varsity girls game.