FARMINGTON -- Most players would consider 18 points in a basketball game a quality offensive performance.
Makenna Vanzant had that many points in the second quarter alone as she guided Farmington's girls to an important 76-58 victory over Gravette during 4A-1 Conference action Friday night.
The victory helped the Lady Cardinals (23-3, 10-0) clinch the league's West Division title with two games remaining as they continue their trek toward next week's meeting at East Division champion Harrison before postseason play begins the following week.
"That kid is just special," Farmington coach Brad Johnson said. "On a team of really good players, she'll come out when she has to and put the team on her shoulders. She gets it done, and she answered the bell in a big way. That's a senior that's really driving this bus, pulling this team, and she's a really focused kid.
"Coming over here, our kids knew how big of a game this was. And we knew how big of an opponent we had in front of us. Gravette's a difficult team to guard, and they're dynamic offensively. I thought our kids fought hard and stayed focused when they had to be."
Audrey Culpepper had scored five of Farmington's last seven points to take a 15-10 lead after one quarter, but Gravette (16-8, 7-3) used back-to-back buckets by Shylee Morrison to start the second quarter and make it a one-point game. That's when Vanzant went to work.
She went inside for tough buckets, and she fired from outside the arc for a pair of 3-pointers. More importantly, she went to the free-throw line and hit a perfect 8-for-8 as Farmington built its lead to a 41-32 halftime margin.
"I didn't even keep track of the points," Vanzant said. "I was just looking to push and do everything I can to get the lead up. It was an important game, and I knew I needed to be on to get this W.
"The game plan is to always get to the free-throw line because those are free shots. Coach Johnson always says that the team that hits the most free throws wins the games. We made a lot, so that helped us a lot."
Vanzant added five more points as Farmington began the second half with a 9-1 spurt and extended its lead to 50-33 with 4 minutes, 35 seconds left in the third quarter. She finished with 29 points as the Lady Cardinals took a 62-45 cushion into the fourth quarter before she picked up two fouls and had to sit for a short time.
Tori Kersey added 15 points and Joelle Tidwell 11 for Farmington. Morrison almost matched Vanzant point-for-point as she finished with 28 despite foul trouble, while Gabbi Scott -- one of two Gravette players to foul out -- chipped in 11.
Farmington (23-3, 10-0): Vanzant 29, Kersey 15, Tidwell 11, Johnson 7, Dillard 6, Culpepper 6, Bryce 1, Earnheart 1.
Gravette (16-8, 7-3): Morrison 28, Scott 11, Beranek 4, Hamilton 4, Deihl 3, Russell 3, Smith 3, Holland 2.
Farmington 56, Gravette 47
Carson Simmons scored 13 of his 21 points in the second quarter as Farmington withstood a slow start and knocked off Gravette.
Simmons' hot hand allowed the Cardinals (14-8, 7-3) to turn an 8-6 deficit into a 25-22 halftime lead. Simmons added six more in the third quarter as Farmington extended its lead to 42-34, but Gravette remained within striking distance until the final 2 minutes.
Marquaveon Watson added 14 points and Austin Shelley 10 for Farmington, who can clinch the East Division's No. 2 seed Tuesday with a win at home over Gentry. Brayden Trembly had 18 points to lead Gravette (12-12, 2-8), followed by Cordell Donell with 11 and Kaleb Furlow with 10.
Farmington (14-8, 7-3): Simmons 21, Watson 14, Shelley 10, Landwehr 7, Disheroon 2, Funk 2.
Gravette (12-12, 2-8): Trembly 18, Donnell 11, Furlow 10, Dunfee 4, Carver 2, Edgmon 2.
Preps Sports on 02/08/2020
Print Headline: Vanzant scores 29 as Farmington girls prevail