3A STATE TOURNAMENT: Unorthodox style of play allows Fouke girls to improve to 36-0 with rout of Rivercrest

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ELKINS -- There is no shortage on the number of substitutions the Fouke Lady Panthers will make during a basketball game, nor is there a limit on three-point shots they will take.

Even Fouke Coach Mo Williams is astounded by the success the Lady Panthers (36-0) have enjoyed this season as they remained unbeaten with a 73-41 rout of Rivercrest during Tuesday's opening round of the Class 3A girls state tournament.

"There's no explanation for that," Williams said. "When I started this season, nobody expects to go undefeated. And we've had some close ones. We've had some games that I didn't think we would pull it out, and we did. I can't explain it, but we keep finding ways to win and keep moving forward."

Williams said he adopted his high-substitution method four years ago when Fouke didn't have enough talent to compete. Once the game starts, five new players will head to the scorer's table and prepare to be in the game after one minute, and the process continues.

Rivercrest (18-13) didn't have an answer for the constant shuffling of fresh players as Fouke bolted to a 16-4 lead. The Lady Panthers used five three-pointers by four players to build a 23-11 cushion. Even then, Williams said he thought his team was a little sloppier than normal.

"We have too many game stoppages," Williams said. "We don't want the game to stop. And in order for this style of play to work, our kids have to have confidence in what they do. Sometimes we don't have the greatest shooters, but we have a few that can shoot.

"But I don't want any kid to work out on that floor with the fear of making a mistake or fear of missing a shot. I feel like the more freedom I can give them and the more confidence I can instill in them, the better they will play."

Fouke went on to build a 41-20 halftime cushion and led 59-30 after three quarters. Andi Palmer then forced the running clock when her breakaway layup made it 65-34 with 6:50 remaining.

Laynie Richardson had 16 points to lead the Lady Panthers, followed by Nailah Zetrenne with 12 and Olivia Morrow with 11. Mykayla Banks led Rivercrest with 21 points.

MAYFLOWER 59, ELKINS 30

Mayflower didn't allow a bucket for the final 13 minutes and pulled away for an opening-round victory over host Elkins.

The Lady Eagles (24-7) led 30-20 at halftime, but that was cut in half when Lakyn Shofner's three-point play made it 34-29 with 5:08 left in the third quarter.

Elkins (18-14), however, never hit another field goal as Mayflower closed out the third quarter with a 12-0 run, then outscored the Lady Elks 13-1 in the fourth quarter.

Kiki Williamson had 19 points and Hailey Francis 17 for Mayflower. Shofner finished with 12 points for Elkins.

BERGMAN 58, DOVER 35

Bergman reeled off 18 unanswered points in the first quarter and never allowed Dover to recover.

Dover led 2-0 early off a Logan Young bucket, but it only lasted 23 seconds as Ruby Trammell's three-pointer put Bergman (39-3) in front and started the early outburst. Jacey Halitzka's second three-pointer capped the run with 18 seconds left in the first quarter. The Lady Panthers went on to take a 29-8 halftime lead as they held the Lady Pirates to three field goals.

Trammell finished with 20 points and Kiersten Lowry had 11 for Bergman. Young had 14 for Dover (24-9).


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