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Hot Springs stayed safely ahead of Little Rock Fair and an impending storm Friday night.

The Trojans (11-5, 1-0 5A-South) bolted to a 15-0 lead in the first four minutes at Fair's gymnasium, and never trailed en route to a 65-54 victory in a game that was moved up an hour because of the threat of severe weather.

All was calm outside before and after the 5A-South opener, and Hot Springs did enough damage to Fair's hopes in the opening minutes to ward off several comeback attempts by the War Eagles (6-6, 0-1).

"Nervous," Fair Coach Charlie Johnson said, trying to describe the opening stretch. "We were throwing the ball away. Just nervous."

Fair turned it over seven times in the opening minutes before settling down and cutting the lead to 22-18 with 4:06 to play in the first half.

But Hot Springs rebuilt its lead to 34-20 at halftime and was up by 19 points midway through the third quarter.

"We hang our hat on pressure defense," Hot Springs Coach Antoni Lasker said. "We were able to get some early turnovers and get out to a good start. My dissatisfaction is that we weren't able to hold that lead."

Fair pulled within 54-46 with just over four minutes to play in the fourth quarter, but that was as close as the War Eagles could get.

"A good team is going to make a run," Lasker said. "It wasn't a surprise they fought back and were able to stay close. Our guys, we build our hat on pressuring people and wearing people down. I don't know how good a job we did of wearing them down because those kids at Fair fought hard and continued to play hard."

What Fair did well, especially in the second half, was rebound.

The War Eagles, led by James Lawrence (17 points), Jamison Bracey (13) and the inside play of Jayon Tyson (7) and Keontai Scruggs (6) outrebounded Hot Springs 18-7 in the second half, many of the rebounds leading to second and third attempts.

But Fair could not make enough baskets -- shooting 11 of 29 in the second half -- even the easiest kind.

"We missed, I don't how many layups," Johnson said. "We just didn't take advantage of the opportunities. That's all you can say."

Lasker said he was happy to emerge victoriously, but he was not as pleased with the rebounding discrepancy that almost allowed Fair to make a game of it.

"If we had rebounded, the margin might have been a little better," he said. "It's something we have to work on if we want to be a state tournament team down the road."

Hot Springs was led by the backcourt combo of Jadyn Walker (21 points) and Caleb Campbell (19).

Santiair Thomas, a 6-4 senior forward, also scored 11 points for Hot Springs, all of those coming in the first half.

"We just have to stay the course and play our game, and we did that tonight," Lasker said. "Always good to get a road win. It's hard to get a win in this type of environment. I'll take it 10 times out of 10."



Jaylia Reed (25) and Jurnee Hicks (24) combined for 49 points to lead Hot Springs (6-7, 1-0 5A-South) to a victory over Fair (1-10, 0-1).

Sports on 01/11/2020

Print Headline: Hot Springs rides out storm, comeback


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