Rockets fizzle, regain spark at end

Little Rock Catholic squandered a 12-point fourth-quarter lead but was able to survive in the final moments to come away Friday night with a 58-53 victory over host Little Rock Parkview at Charles Ripley Arena.

Senior Walker Lewis scored a game-high 18 points for the Rockets. Junior Joshua Thursby knocked down a pair of three-pointers in the second half and finished with 14 points.

"Our guys kept scratching and clawing, and I was really proud of them," Catholic Coach Todd Ezzi said. "They have some great players, and they hit some really tough shots. It would have been real easy for our guys to put their heads down, but they kept fighting. We're trying to stay alive."

Catholic (12-11, 7-5 5A-Central) jumped out to a 18-11 advantage after one quarter. Senior Maddox Cliff scored seven points in the quarter for the Rockets as the visitors took the early lead. Both defenses owned the second quarter, as just a combined 16 points were scored.

The Rockets built their lead to double digits, 21-11, following a three-pointer from senior Wallace Landrum early in the second quarter, but the Patriots chipped away at their deficit. Parkview junior Garrett Avery's three-pointer with 32 seconds left trimmed the defiicit to 25-20 at halftime.

Early in the second half, Garrett knocked down another thee-pointer at the 6:15 mark of the third quarter to pull the Patriots to within 28-27. Thursby responded just seconds later with a three-pointer of his own to put the Rockets up 31-27.

Catholic ended the third by going on a 17-6 run that was capped off by a mid-range jump shot from Thursby just before the buzzer that pushed the Rockets lead to 45-33 entering the fourth.

Parkview (13-12, 7-4) heightened its defensive intensity early in the fourth quarter and quickly got back in the game by forcing several turnovers. A 10-1 scoring run capped by a three-pointer from sophomore Ayden Hansberry with 4:52 left cut the deficit to 46-43. Another three-pointer from Hansberry at the 3:45 mark tied the game at 48-48.

Dallas Thomas buried a three-pointer with 1:20 left to give Parkview its first lead of the second half at 53-52. A layup from Lewis gave the lead back to the Rockets at 54-53 with 47.3 seconds remaining. Thursby converted a pair of free throws with 16.2 seconds left to give the Rockets a 56-53 advantage.

A three-point attempt from Thomas that would have tied the score was off with under five seconds remaining, and Lewis secured the rebound and the Rockets' victory.

Thomas scored a team-high 16 points for the Patriots, while Hansberry finished with 11.

"We came out hot and hitting a lot of shots," Ezzi said. "That definitely made things a little bit easier getting off to a good start like that. We're going to try to do what we can these last three games to see what happens from here. We just have to keep playing and scratching and clawing."



Parkview outlasted Mount St. Mary at Parkview High School.

Sophomore Kristyn Cooper led Parkview (13-13, 10-2 5A Central) with a team-high 12 points.

Junior Naomi Sharpley scored all 10 of her points in the second half, and sophomore A'Miya Goolsby added nine points in the victory.

Sophomore Josie Wrape had a game-high 15 points for Mount St. Mary (10-15, 6-7). Sophomore Ava Coca finished with eight points for the Belles.

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