For the fans who travel up from Arkansas, it has become "The Pea Ridge Invitational" with their Blackhawks winning the tournament in five of the past six years. But in 2011, the tallest trophy won't be going south when this week is over.
The host Southwest Trojans raced to a 36-20 halftime lead and then crushed the Hawks with a 20-8 outburst in the third period enroute to an impressive 60-38 win on Monday night at Washburn.
Skylar Knoll scored a game-high 22 points and the Southwest defense confused and controlled Pea Ridge with a bewildering display of pressure.
"We guarded well," said Southwest coach Jason Horn in a simple but revealing evaluation of his team's performance.
The Trojans limited the Blackhawks to 8, 12, 8, and 12 points in the four quarters of play. In the decisive third period, Pea Ridge did not score until 5:24 had elapsed off the clock.
Knoll scored 10 of his 22 points in that third quarter of play as Southwest opened a 30-point lead at 50-20. That score marked the peak of a 19-3 run that stretched from late in the second period to late in the third.
The Trojans pushed the pace and scored at will in the paint. When Knoll was double-teamed in the second quarter, Tyler Ferguson rolled in 8 points. The Blackhawks were already on life support when point guard Travis Hayworth swished a trey for the 36-20 advantage to end the first half.
Southwest scorers: Skylar Knoll, 22; Tyler Ferguson, 12; Travis Hayworth, 10; Jordan Epling, 6; James Pettit, 4; Cristian Sellars, 4; Jeff Elkins, 2.
Pea Ridge scorers: Levi Pitts, 11; Isaac Mangrum, 8; Dakota Woodward, 8; Jacob Hall, 4; Evan Tillman, 2; Logan Rose, 2; Wyatt Holtgrewe, 2; Ricardo Schneider, 1.
Southwest improved to 6-3 with the victory and will play the Billings/East Newton winner at 7:30 p.m. tonight (Wednesday).
In other action, East Newton beat Pierce City, 66-39, and Purdy downed Hollister, 56-51.