Fast start enough for Conway

CONWAY -- Kendarius Smith started a Conway charge that never stopped.

The senior guard scored 15 points before leaving the game early in the third quarter to help lead the Wampus Cats to an easy 81-35 victory over Russellville in the John Stanton Classic at Bolding Arena on Friday night.

"Kendarius is a really tough player," Conway Coach Will Johnson said. "He gets us going. He really sets the tone for us. When his shot's falling, and he can get it to the rim, everyone really plays well for us."

Conway (5-4) jumped to an 8-0 lead in the first two minutes of the game and Russellville, which lost 10 seniors from its 2015-16 state-tournament team, would never get closer.

Smith took control from the start. Layups on consecutive possessions gave Conway an 18-7 lead with 55 seconds left in the first quarter.

"Smith is a really good player," Russellville Coach Matt Hall said. "He shoots it well enough that you have to guard him outside. He's a good athlete that can get to the rim. He does a really good job. You put a small guy on him, he'll post you up. You put a big guy on him, and he'll go by him on the perimeter, so he's a match-up problem."

Russellville (1-4) was within 20-10 after guard Ryan Talley's three-pointer, but Conway scored the next 11 points. Back-to-back three-pointers by junior guard Jaylan Fulton gave Conway a 31-10 with six minutes before halftime.

Russellville did manage a three-minute stretch during which it outscored Conway by five points, culminated by sophomore guard Ryan Talley's layup that cut Conway's lead to 34-18 with 3:30 left in the second quarter.

"We have some pieces," Hall said. "Thirteen of the 15 we dressed out in the state tournament last year are gone, and now we have seven football guys we're trying to mix in, so we're still in mid-October form. We've had five practices and five games, but we're excited about this group. We just have to keep grinding."

Russellville's brief run did not go unnoticed by Johnson.

"Russellville back cuts well," Johnson said. "They run good offense. They'll back cut you, and they'll run some dribble-drive at you and attack the rim. That can be hard to guard, but then we made some adjustments. The main thing for us is we knocked down shots. When we make shots, it makes everything better."

"If anyone shoots it like that, we're in trouble," Hall said. "Conway looked really good tonight."

Johnson empathized with Hall.

"I've been in Coach Hall's shoes," Johnson said. "They're rebuilding, but they're going to get there. He does a great job, and it's just a matter of time."


White 0 0-0 0, George 3 0-0 6, Churchill 0 0-0 0, Howerton 1 0-0 3, Reed 5 0-0 10, Kordsmeier 1 1-2 3, Talley 3 0-1 8, Stokes 2 0-1 4, Garcia 0 0-0 0, Adkins 0 1-4 1. Totals 15 2-8 35.


Melton 5 0-0 10, Stone 0 0-0 0, Petrucelli 1 0-0 2, Macon 2 1-2 5, Ashby 2 0-0 4, Maull 3 1-2 7, Fulton 4 0-0 12, Obannan 1 2-2 5, Bradshaw 4 1-1 9, Smith 7 0-0 15, Gifford 0 0-0 0, Lowe 3 0-0 8, Taylor 1 2-2 4. Totals 33 7-9 81.

Russellville (1-4) 7 14 14 0 -- 35

Conway (5-4) 20 21 33 7 -- 81

Three-point goals -- Russellville 3 (Talley 2, Howerton); Conway 8 (Fulton 4, Lowe 2, Obannan, Smith). Team fouls -- Russellville 11, Conway 11.

Sports on 12/17/2016