Report by Wes Gwaltney
Entering Friday night, the Batesville Lady Pioneers had won their previous two conference games by an average of 40 points, the Paragould Lady Rams wouldn’t let that streak continue as they hosted the conference-leading Lady Pioneers in 5A East action.
The Lady Pioneers usually have no problem putting up points in bunches but the Lady Rams would challenge them in a way not seen thus far by any other team in the 5A East. They would force several turnovers and would slow down the tempo, forcing the Lady Pioneers to adjust their game plan throughout the matchup.
From the opening tipoff, it was clear that points would a premium in this matchup as both teams combined for just 15 points in the opening frame and had the Lady Pioneers up by just three at the break.
The second quarter would see the basket being a little more forgiving for both squads as the Lady Pioneers would put up 17 points, stretching their lead to six at halftime. Coming out of halftime, Coach Fowler and the Lady Pioneers would turn up the defensive pressure holding Paragould to just eight points in the third while the Lady Pioneers would put up 18 in the frame, heading into the 4th up by 16 points.
Despite several attempts at a comeback, the Lady Rams couldn’t muster the points to catch the Lady Pioneers as Batesville would pick up the victory by a final of 53-41, as they moved to 11-0 on the season and would grab their third conference victory of the year.
Leading the Lady Pioneers in scoring was Izzy Higginbottom with 34 points, Kayla Ward with eight points, Taylor Rush and Kaylee Clark with four apiece, and London Cuzzort with three points in the win.
The Lady Pioneers will now rejoin the boy’s team at home this Friday as both teams will take on conference unbeaten Marion in a doubleheader at Pioneer Gymnasium with the two JV games set to start at 5 p.m.