The Southwest Holiday Tournament, a staple of area high school basketball since 1982, tipped off on Saturday at Washburn with a slate of four first-round games.
Top-seeded Pea Ridge (Ark.) dismantled Exeter 77-26, Pierce City upset fourth-seeded East Newton 61-38, Purdy controlled Wheaton 75-41, and Eureka Springs (Ark.) defeated Southwest, 77-64, in the best game of the night.
The Pea Ridge Blackhawks were led in scoring by senior guard, Corey Trevathan, who tallied 20 points against Exeter. But the Blackhawks' most effective weapon was 6'5" postman Kip Kelly, showing a blend of size and quickness that was unstoppable.
Kelly contributed 14 points, including a thunderous dunk to push the lead to 39-9 at the 4:20 mark of the second quarter. Brandon Thompson and Casey Cooper also reached double-digits, scoring 15 and 10 points respectively for Pea Ridge.
Exeter was led by Zach Wubker and Ryan Odenbrett, who both scored 8 for the Tigers.
Pierce City blitzed East Newton with superior speed and accurate shooting to record the only upset of the first round. The Eagles opened the game with a 7-0 run and led 13-12 at the end of the first period.
The Patriots led briefly early in the second quarter when Brent Patterson nabbed an offensive board and scored for a 14-13 advantage. Pierce City, scoring repeatedly in transition, reeled off a 13-0 run and took a 26-14 lead to the locker room.
East Newton whittled the lead to 28-17 as the third quarter developed, then watched Pierce City explode on yet another run, this one a 9-1 episode accentuated by Dietrick Sooter's long trey to open a 37-18 lead with 3:48 left in the period.
The quarter ended with East Newton trailing 43-23. The cold-shooting Patriots had been outscored 30-11 since the first quarter horn. When Wayne Sooter put up an old-fashioned three-point play with 3:19 left in the game, the Eagles enjoyed their biggest lead of the night at 59-29. Both coaches cleared the benches with mass substitutions soon after, and Pierce City won 61-38.
Dietrick Sooter led Pierce City with 22 points, and Riley Brown and Derek Allphin each scored 10 for East Newton.
The Purdy Eagles used a balanced scoring attack to subdue the Bulldogs 75-41. Blake Williams scored 20, including a pair of treys to lead the Purdy scoring. Mason Roller scored 17, including five of six from the free throw line, and Kevin Terry tossed in 16 points for Purdy.
Purdy rolled to an 8-0 lead to start the game, but Wheaton battled back behind the play of Donovan Bartkowski and only trailed 16-10 after a quarter.
The Eagles started the second quarter with a 5-0 run and finished it with a 9-0 streak to go to halftime ahead by 38-19. Williams beat the halftime buzzer, dribbling coast to coast for a lay-up.
The Bulldogs scored 16 points in the third quarter but allowed 25 more to the taller Purdy squad. Landon Terry beat the buzzer for another Purdy basket, and the Eagles led 63-35. Purdy had 30-point leads at 69-39 and again at 71-41 in the fourth quarter, and breezed to the 75-41 final.
Wheaton's Blake Dilbeck scored 12 points in the loss.
After hanging 85 points on Diamond in their last outing, the Southwest Trojans found themselves on the other end of an offensive explosion when Taylor Williams of the Highlanders scored 35 points in leading Eureka Springs to a 77-64 win. The Trojans were led by Austin Rettman's 23 points in a game that was close until the final four minutes.
Early on, the Trojans traded baskets with the third seed from Arkansas, and trailed 14-13 with 1:10 remaining in the 1st quarter. But Eureka Springs fashioned a 10-0 run that reached into the second quarter. Southwest stemmed the bleeding when Coach Jason Horn called timeout, and then Rettman swished a three on the ensuing possession.
Rettman hit the offensive boards and followed with a bucket, then followed a Highlander miss with a running jumper in the lane to cut the lead to 24-20 midway through the second period. Jacob Worley stretched the lead back for Eureka Springs with easy lay-ups against Southwest's full-court press, and his team led 34-25 at halftime.
In the third quarter, the lead was trimmed to 5 points at 42-37 when Josh Hartin hit a long trey for Southwest. But Eureka Springs reeled off three consecutive scores and opened an 11-point margin with three minutes left in the period. The Trojans ended the quarter with a 6-2 run of their own and cut the lead to 50-43.
Levi Roberts led a Southwest comeback, scoring the first bucket of the final quarter on a fast break feed from Matthew Whittington. Worley answered for Eureka in the lane and then Southwest cut the lead to 52-49 on Whittington's driving lay-up with 5:40 to play.
Dustin Morrell scored for the Arkansas team, and then Hartin dribbled coast to coast and scored to pull Southwest within three at 51-54.
With less than four minutes to play, Southwest had possession of the ball, trailing by only three points. A missed shot in the lane, followed by back-to-back treys by Taylor Williams quelled the Trojans' hopes for an upset. The Highlanders scored their final 17 points on free throws in the final 3:02 as Southwest desperately tried to get back in the game.
Second round match-ups were played on Monday, Dec. 29 and the championship games were scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 30. Results from those contests will be reported in next week's issue of the Cassville Democrat.