Report and photo by Wes Gwaltney
Finally back in Pioneer Gymnasium for the first time in two weeks, the Pioneer varsity squads would enter Friday Night both looking to complete the season sweep over the Paragould Rams in conference action.
In a night that would honor the seniors on both squads, the atmosphere was electric in Pioneer Gymnasium all night and both games were barnburners to the very end.
To open the night of hardwood action, the Lady Pioneers would look to stay perfect on the season and in conference play versus a Lady Ram team that was riding a five-game conference winning streak including a win over a Jonesboro team that took the Lady Pioneers to the limit just a week prior.
Both teams would light up the scoreboard in the first, accounting for 29 points as the Lady Pioneers would lead 17-12 at the first quarter break.
Both teams would tighten their defenses in a low scoring second quarter as the Lady Pioneers would outscore the Lady Rams 6-5 and would take a 23-17 lead into halftime.
Paragould would outscore Batesville by one in the third and the Lady Pioneers would enter the final quarter up by five.
The Lady Rams would play relentless defense in the final quarter and the shots just wouldn’t fall for the Lady Pioneers as the Lady Rams would outscore Batesville 12-3 and would hand the Lady Pioneers their first loss of the season 38-34.
Leading the Lady Pioneers in scoring was Senior Izzy Higginbottom with 12 points, Senior London Cuzzort with seven, Senior Kaylee Clark with six, and Sophomore Kayla Ward with five points.
The Lady Pioneers now fall to 18-1 overall and 9-1 in the conference and still sit atop the standings.
The nightcap would keep fans on the edge of their seat as adversity was the topic of the night for the Pioneer squad.
Falling behind seven to nothing to start the game, the Pioneers would face an uphill climb throughout the ballgame as they would trail by six heading into the first break 16-10.
In a near repeat of the girl’s game, both teams would struggle in the second quarter with Batesville outscoring the Rams 6-5 in the frame and would go into the locker room trailing 21-16.
In a wild third quarter, Junior Logan McSpadden would come alive for seven points in the frame as the Pioneers would even up the score at 30 all.
Overcoming the slow start from the first half, the Pioneers would take their first lead early into the final frame and would never look back as they would pickup their third conference victory of the season by a final of 50-38 over the Rams.
Leading the Pioneers in scoring for the first time this season was Junior Logan McSpadden with 20 points, joining him in double digits was Senior John Paul Morgan with 11 points and Senior Kyrese Johnson and Junior John Thomas Morgan would account for seven and six points apiece respectively.
The Pioneers now move to 12-9 overall and 3-7 in conference play and sit seventh in the conference with two weeks of action ahead.
Both Pioneer teams will now head back on the road Tuesday night traveling to take on the Marion Patriots with JV action to start at 5 p.m. and Senior High action to follow.