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After falling behind 2-0 at the start, Magnolia never trailed Hope again during Friday's regular-season basketball finale at Panther Arena.

"We wanted to get out front and get on top of them early. We were able to do that and we had some people shoot the ball well," said Magnolia head coach Dyun Long said following the 52-37 win over the Bobcats.

The Panthers will play at Hot Springs Lakeside Tuesday and travel to El Dorado Thursday before the 5A-South District Tournament starts Feb. 19 in Hot Springs.

Against the Bobcats, Long said it was good to see his team shot the ball well and added, "We will win more games if we continue to do that."

Other than losses to Arkansas High and Lake Hamilton at Panther Arena this season, Long said the Panthers for the most part defended their home court.

"It's been a good year here at Panther Arena and a great atmosphere. The fans came out, the music was playing and everyone got involved," he said. "Our players fed into that. We have some good young men who play for each other."

Against the Bobcats, the Panthers led 7-4 at the midway point of the first period and were up 14-8 at the buzzer.

They took control in the second period, building a 14-point lead with 2:35 on the clock and carrying a 29-18 advantage into the locker room at half-time.

"Hope began to shoot the ball well in that second period and we were not able to pull away," said Long.

Magnolia got some distance in the third quarter by going up 40-22 with two minutes on the clock. The Panthers led 42-25 after three periods.

They built a 21-point lead midway through the final period before winning by 15. Tyler Brown led the team in scoring with 13 points, Braylen Beasley followed with 12 and Kaydn Roach added 10. Markeveon Strickland had nine and Bredrin Chambliss finished with eight.

"It always good when you win. We didn't play as well as we wanted to, but now we have to look forward to the next one," said the coach. "We are grinders and as long as we can get the win, we will take it."

After the regular season this week, the Panthers must win their first game in the district tournament to qualify for the Class 5A State Basketball Tournament, which will be played at Maumelle.

Lady Bobcats 56,

Lady Panthers 52

Magnolia and Hope were in a back-and-forth affair all night before the Lady Bobcats came away with a four-point victory.

The Lady Panthers used eight free throws over the first six minutes to lead 8-3 over Hope.

Kayleigh Sneed gave Magnolia its first field goal and the Lady Panthers led 12-9 after the first break following two more free throws by De'Asia Walker.

Neither team gained an advantage in the second period and the contest was tied 15-15 with 2:41 showing on the clock. Hope managed to lead 22-21 over Magnolia at half-time.

Neither team led by more than one point in the third period until Shadiamond Love hit a free throw and Sneed scored off an offensive rebound with four seconds on the clock.

It gave the Lady Panthers a 40-38 advantage after three periods.

In the final period, the battle was tied twice and the lead changed four more times.

Walker and Love led Magnolia with 14 points apiece, while Hunter finished with 10. Sneed had nine.

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