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Saturday, Apr. 19, 2014

Without coach, rival Tech trips up Chickasaws

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

(Photo)
Blytheville's Larry Bolden jumps out of bounds to save a loose ball Tuesday night against Greene County Tech at Chickasaw Gym.
A new twist to the Blytheville/Greene County Tech rivalry happened Tuesday night. It was the first time since 2001 that neither David Hixson or Scott Bowlin was on the sideline for either club. New Blytheville head coach Jeff Flanigan took over for a retiring Hixson last spring while Tech was led by assistant coach Jay Robertson for an absent Bowlin, who was ejected during last Friday night's loss to Beebe.

If Tech missed Bowlin, they had a strange way of showing it. The Golden Eagles led from start to finish Tuesday night and bested the host Chickasaws, 64-48, at Chickasaw Gym in a key 5A-East game.

"I thought they (Tech) might be on an emotional high playing without their coach," said Flanigan. "We talked about that and not letting them to get out early. They were ready to play."

Tech (8-10, 2-4 5A-East) did get out of the gates early and often. The Golden Eagles ran off 10 consecutive points early in the first period on their way to a 20-point period and led 20-13 after one.

Tech took advantage of nine Chickasaw (4-14, 1-4 5A-East) turnovers that led to easy and almost uncontested points at the other end in the first period.

Blytheville chipped away at the Tech lead. Trailing 24-15 with 5:44 left in the half, the Chicks ran off seven in a row. Michael William's split a pair of free throws with 3:54 left in the half to cut the deficit to two at 24-22. That was as close as Blytheville got to Tech the entire game.

Tech scored the last 10 points of the half and the first four of the second half and increased its lead back out to 16 at 38-22 with just one minute gone by in the third period.

Tech matched its 20-point first period with 20 in the third and guard Tanner Perkins accounted for half of the scoring. He scored 10 of his game-high 22 points in the period, including a pair of three-pointers as Tech continued to extend the lead. Blytheville trailed 49-26 with 4:12 to play in the third before running off eight in a row. However, Tech ended that run by scoring the final five points of the period, including Perkins' second three-point bomb of the period as time expired, giving the Golden Eagles a commanding 54-34 lead heading into the final frame.

The Chicks opened the fourth on 12-2 run and cut the Tech lead to 55-45 with three minutes remaining and had the ball with a chance to get closer but the Tech defense held and Perkins hit on back-to-back possession to get the Tech lead back to 14 and with just under two minutes to play.

"I'm shocked," said Flanigan. "They (Tech) did what we knew they were going to do. They played hard. We just didn't execute the way I thought we would. We had 13 turnovers in the first half. I thought we had taken care of that problem; I never saw that coming. I don't remember the last time we even had 13 turnovers in a game."

Blytheville improved its accuracy from the floor, shooting nearly 40 percent but could not overcome the multiple turnovers in the first period and second period.

"That's all on me," said Flanigan. "I didn't like what I saw tonight and I take ownership of that. They (Tech) were coming in struggling just like us but they got one and we didn't."

With a 1-4 conference record, every game from here on out almost turns into a "must-win" situation for the Chicks, starting with a visit to Forrest City Friday night to take on the first place Mustangs.

"We have to make something happen. It's just that simple," said Flanigan. "We can't let Greene County Tech beat us twice in one week. We have to get over this now. We'll just pack this up and won't talk about it again. We just have to get ready for Forrest City."

For the game, Wilson and Williams led the Chicks with 13 points a piece with Wilson connecting on three three point attempts.

Perkins led Tech with 22 and Andrew Hovis chipped in 15.

Blytheville heads to Forrest City Friday night.

GIRLS

Greene County Tech 59, Blytheville 50

The Blytheville Lady Chickasaws dropped to 1-4 in the 5A-East after a 59-50 loss to Greene County Tech Tuesday night at Chickasaw Gym.

Blytheville (4-13, 1-4 5A-East) trailed Tech (11-7, 4-2 5A-East) 8-7 heading into the second but rallied for a 21-16 lead with two minutes left in the first half. Tech followed with a 13-0 run and led 31-25 at the break.

Trailing 45-36 with just over two minutes to go in the third, the Lady Chicks ran off six in a row to end the period and trailed by three, at 45-42, heading into the fourth.

A 13-1 run to open the fourth helped put the game away for the Lady Golden Eagles as they led 56-44 with just over three minutes to play in the game.

Iesha Humphrey led the Lady Chicks with 22 and Dejah Prude added 13 in the loss.

Whitney Maxwell led the Lady Eagles with 17 and Tiffany Woodall added 16.

afitzpatrick@couriernews.net

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