Willis 'takes over' for Fayetteville

CONWAY -- In a showdown of point guards, the one from Fayetteville ultimately was the difference.

Senior Payton Willis scored 32 points to help lead Fayetteville to a 67-59 victory over Little Rock Parkview in the John Stanton Classic at Bolding Arena on Saturday.

Willis, 6-5, 190 pounds, hit 5 of 11 three-pointers. Parkview point guard Ryan Pippins scored 20 points to lead the Patriots.

Pippins said he and Willis became friends playing in AAU tournaments during the summer.

"When we found out we were going to get to play against each other in this, we knew we were going to go after it," Pippins said.

The game was tied 48-48 at the end of the third quarter, but Parkview scored the first seven points of the fourth and led 55-48 after junior Javon Franklin's layup with 6:04 left.

Fayetteville Coach Kyle Adams called timeout. Moments after the game, he said he simply implored Willis to "take over."

"That's what he did," Adams said. "Payton just took over the game for us. He hit shots and that got our confidence going."

After the timeout, Willis hit two free throws, a three-pointer from the top of the key and a running 13-footer on consecutive possessions, and with 2:20 left in the game, Fayetteville (8-1) led 58-57.

"He's a good player, and he can shoot the ball like crazy," Pippins said.

Fayetteville's run continued with a total of four free throws on two possessions by senior forward Spencer Brown and the Bulldogs led 62-57 with 1:08 left.

Parkview Coach Al Flanigan said practices missed because of semester tests adversely affected his team.

"It just kind of took us out of rhythm," he said. "We should've dealt with it better, but you have to give Fayetteville credit. They're a good team."

"We missed some practice, but we can't use that as an excuse," Pippins said. "They just wanted it more than we did, and they played like it."

A driving layup by Pippins put Parkview (8-1) within 62-59 with 1:01 left, but the Patriots missed all three of their shots from the field and two free throws in the final minute.

"Pippins is just so strong and he can really shoot it," Adams said. "I'd only seen Pippins on film before this game, and it didn't do him justice. He and Payton are such good players, but there's no one in the state that I'd trade Payton for."

Parkview trailed 4-0 after the game's first minute and a half, but scored the next 11 points to lead 11-4 after a dunk by junior forward Javon Franklin with 1:52 left in the first quarter.

Fayetteville scored for the first time in five minutes on with a three-pointer by Willis, but Parkview junior guard Rod Terry responded with a 25-foot shot give the Patriots a 14-7 lead with 1:04 left in the first quarter.

Willis also hit from 25 feet in the final minute to cut Parkview's lead at the end of the first quarter to 14-10.

Willis and Pippins continued to exchange shots through the second quarter. Pippin's second three-pointer of the game gave Parkview a 28-23 lead with two minutes left, but Willis hit from 23 feet at the buzzer to cut Parkview's halftime lead to 33-29.

Sports on 12/20/2015

Upcoming Events