Report by Wes Gwaltney
Conference play ramped back up Friday night as the Lady Pioneers and Pioneers would experience mixed results on the hardwood on the road at Nettleton.
To start the evening, the undefeated Lady Pioneers would have a tough opponent on their hands as the defending co-state champions Nettleton Lady Raiders would try to play the upset in front of their home fans.
An exciting game would see the momentum shift several times in every single quarter and would be an instant classic.
Behind Izzy Higginbottom’s thirteen points in the opening quarter, Batesville would lead at the first break fifteen to thirteen.
The close affair would continue into the halftime break as the Lady Pioneers would only be able to open up their lead to four, 27-23 at halftime.
Every point was needed in the second half as the Pioneers would take a six-point lead into the last frame before Higginbottom went off for eleven more points in the final quarter and the defense would make several huge stops to keep the undefeated season alive as they would grab the victory 51-43.
Higginbottom would finish with 31 points, Kaylee Clark would secure seven points, and Kayla Ward and Taylor Rush would have four and three points respectively.
The action would continue into the nightcap as the Pioneers would take on the Nettleton Raiders as both teams would try to turn around their fortune coming off of conference losses earlier in the week.
The first half would see the lead swap several times between the two teams as the Pioneers would lead at the first break 17-14.
The second quarter would see more of the same, as points would be a bit harder to come by, as the Pioneers would hold on to their lead 28-27.
The Pioneers would see a frenzy of an offensive charge out of the break from the Raiders as they would outscore Batesville by 14 in the third and they would take a 13 point lead into the final frame.
A late-game charge would come up just short as the Pioneers would score six points in the final minute but would ultimately fall by a 73-64 final.
Leading the Pioneers was Senior John Paul Morgan with thirty-one points, Juniors Logan McSpadden and John Thomas Morgan would attribute ten, and Freshman Caden Griffin would add seven points and Senior Kyrese Johnson had six.
Both Pioneer teams will return to the 5A East conference action Tuesday in Pioneer Gymnasium as they host the Searcy Lions. JV games are set to start at 5 p.m. with the Senior Girls game set for 6 p.m. and the Senior Boys to follow.