South Iron claimed two of the four Black River League Tournament titles Saturday during action in Ellsinore. The Panthers’ boys varsity basketball team dominated the field en route to the title. The Lady Panthers held off Ellington to claim the title. East Carter slipped past South Iron’s junior varsity team to claim the championship title. East Carter’s cheerleading team won the coveted cheer trophy.
South Iron 104
East Carter 42
Six South Iron players finished in double-digit scoring Saturday when the Panthers won the Black River League Tournament in Ellsinore. The Panthers dominated East Carter 104-42. Their average margin of victory in the tournament was a dominant 49 points.
East Carter had no answer to South Iron’s crushing defense and was unable to stop the Panthers’ explosive offense. South Iron jumped to a 22-7 first-quarter lead.
Panthers’ head coach Dusty Dinkins says his team executed at a high level in the game.
The Panthers’ offense exploded in the second quarter, scoring 35 points and the defense continued to limit the Redbird’s offense. South Iron led 57-18 at the half.
Both sides came back out for the second half and not much changed. South Iron continued to dominate every aspect of the game. They outscored East Carter 27-8 in the third and 20-16 in the fourth.
Brock Wakefield led the team in scoring and racked up a double-double with 24 points and 10 assists. He also had seven rebounds and six steals. Champ McMurry scored 20 points of his own. He was 4-for-5 from three-point range.
Drenin Dinkins had 15 points. Demarco Burse scored 14 and grabbed five rebounds. Luke Lunyou and DJ Prater each scored 11. Prater pulled down nine rebounds and had six assists. Lunyou had six assists, three rebounds and six steals.
In semifinal action, South Iron beat Ellington 89-53. The Panthers kicked the game off with a 32-point first quarter and held Ellington to just 10 points. South Iron poured in 25 more points in the second quarter and held the Whippets to 12. The Panthers led 57-22 at the half.
The Whippets put together a respectable second half, but the deficit proved to be too much to overcome. South Iron outscored Ellington 19-12 in the third. Ellington outscored the Panthers 19-13 in the fourth quarter, but it was too late.
South Iron hit 25 of 29 two points shots in the game and was 9-for-23 from three-point range. At the charity stripe, the Panthers were 12-for-15.
Drenin Dinkins led the squad with 20 points. He also had four assists, four rebounds and hit four shots from beyond the arc. Brock Wakefield and Champ McMurry were just behind. Wakefield had 18 points, six assists, five rebounds and five steals. McMurry had 17 points and five rebounds. Jermarco Burse scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds. DJ Prater and Lucas Lunyou each scored nine points as well.
East Carter Claims
JV BRL Title
East Carter beat South Iron’s JV team 57-53 to claim the BRL Title. South Iron was led by Gabe Ruble with 28 and Will Malone with 15.
In the third-place game, Ellington beat Clearwater 56-36.
Lady Panthers Hold
Off Ellington to
Starting a game trailing is not something in which the South Iron Lady Panthers are accustomed. That is exactly the spot the girls found themselves in in the championship game of the Black River League Tournament. The deficit did not discourage the team, the continued to fight and beat Ellington 55-50.
“We knew going into this game that is was going to be a battle for 32-straight minutes,” said Coach Lawrence Graves. “Ellington has got a bunch of really good girl’s who have played a lot of basketball together.
“We got off to a slow start offensively (game started 8-0 in favor of Ellington). From there on, we just had to lock in defensively and start chiseling away at their lead.”
At the end of the first quarter, South Iron trailed 8-12. South Iron outscored Ellington 16-13 in the second quarter to trail by just one at the break.
The Panthers came out in the second half locked in defensively and ready to take the lead. They did just that. They outscored Ellington 13-8 in the third and took a 37-33 lead into the fourth quarter. The final eight minutes were a battle. Ellington had its best quarter of the day with 17 points, but they could not hold off the Panther attack. South Iron scored 18 in the quarter and locked up the tournament championship with a 55-50 win.
“Their (Ellington’s) defense was good. We really had to earn every shot tonight. Fortunately, our girls worked together to find the open man. Maddie (Ayers), Allecia (Cornell) and Anna (Parker) hit some really big shots for us in key moments. It seemed like every time Ellington tried to make a run on us, somebody would step up and hit a big one.
“As coaches, we couldn’t be more proud of our girls. This was a big win for our team!”
South Iron had three players in double-digit scoring.
Maddie Ayers led all South Iron scorers with 18 points. She shot 50 percent from both two-point and three-point range and was perfect (8-for-8) from the free throw line. Ayers had three assists, one block, one steal, and four rebounds.
Allecia Cornell scored 14 points and had one steal, two assists, and four rebounds. Ana Parker scored 13 points and had one rebound.
Enzley Dinkins and Megan Lashley each scored four points. Dinkins had six rebounds, one assist, one block and four steals. Lashley had one assist and two rebounds.
Drew Gayle scored two points and had one assist and four rebounds.
In semifinal action, the Lady Panthers beat Bunker 64-33. South Iron did not allow the Eagles to score over nine points in any quarter.
South Iron led 14-9 after one quarter of play and 31-18 at halftime.
South Iron did not shoot the ball well, but the Panthers’ effort stayed consistent throughout the game. They outscored Bunker 15-9 in the third and held a 19-point lead going into the final eight minutes. They outscored Bunker yet again in the fourth 18-6 and secured a 64-33 victory that vaulted them into the tournament championship.
Madison Ayers led the team with 22 points. She shot 9-11 from the floor in 28 minutes. She also pulled down five rebounds and racked up six steals. Anna Parker was second on the team in points with 13. Drew Gayle scored nine points and had four rebounds. Enzley Dinkins had six points and led the team with 11 rebounds. Allecia Cornell scored eight points and led the team with seven steals.
“Tonight’s game was one of those games that was difficult to get going offensively in,” Graves said. “We give Bunker a lot of credit for that. But realistically, we know that that is going to happen sometimes. What our girls did a great job of was keeping the defensive pressure up and in spurts let the defense create some offense for us. For our team, this is an important lesson to learn. We don’t always have control of shots going in, but we can still win basketball games if our defense is where it needs to be.”
The Greenville Lady Bears beat Advance 66-54 during action Jan. 21 on the road.
Greenville outscored Advance 22-14 in the first quarter and led 30-26 at the break. The Lady Bears came out strong in the third pumped in 21 points to Advance’s 12 to push the lead to a four possession game going into the final quarter. Advance scored 16 to Greenville’s 15 points in the fourth.
Greenville got 43 of their 66 points from juniors Micah Adams (23) and Mattie Allen (20).
Abbigail Hillis scored 11, and Bryna Payne had 5 points. Mazenkie Hill scored 3 and Matti Lowry and Carli Marler each had 2 points.
Greenville’s varsity boys’ team beat Zalma 65-47 during action Jan. 21. The win improved the Bears record to 6-8. Game statistics were not available at press time.
To Be Ranked #1
The South Iron Panthers boys’ basketball team continue to be the top ranked Class 1 team in the state.
The South Iron dominated the Black River League Tournament, defeating opponents by a 49-point average. In the finals, South Iron crushed East Carter 104-42. Members of the team are: front from left, Drenin Dinkins, Jacob Leverett, Martez Burse, Champ McMurry; back, Head Coach Dusty Dinkins, Assistant Coach Delbert Jackson, Luke Lunyou, DJ Prater, Brock Wakefield, Demarco Burse, Assistant Coach Jason McMurry, and Assistant Coach Jared Middleton.
The Panthers are playing a tough schedule, playing several much bigger state-ranked teams. South Iron currently has a 12-4 record.
Bunker boys were not state ranked but received some votes in the rankings.
Mound City was ranked second in the Jan. 21 poll. Winston was third and Golden City fourth. Lockwood was fifth.
In girls’ rankings, Ozark Foothills’ powerhouse Twin Rivers is ranked eighth in Class 3. South Iron girls are ranked ninth in Class 1.