WEBBERS FALLS -- It wasn’t real pretty, but the Webbers Falls Lady Warriors used tough defense to survive their first major test of the basketball season and in the process were crowed champions of the Arkansas River Shootout Tournament with a 36-25 win over Whitesboro, ranked No.7 in Class B.

Webbers Falls remained undefeated at 9-0 on the season but it was the first game that they haven’t won in blowout fashion, and veteran coach Jerry Ward expected as much.

“I knew it was going to be a battle because they play good defense and they’re pretty big," Ward said. "Sometimes you have to have the ability to win tough, grind-it-out games like this one and it gave us a good opportunity to really evaluate where we are at this point in the season.”

Three-time All-Phoenix standout Samantha Shanks led all scorers with 20 points and was the only player to make it into double figures.

While the Lady Warriors played excellent defense against the Lady Bulldogs twin towers of Austyn Wright and Kjnley Brown, there were some offensive problems. The Lady Warriors turned the ball over 20 times in the game and connected on just 6 of 13 free throws.

“That’s right — turnovers, missed free throws and too many fouls,” said Ward. “We put them on the free throw line way too much and they converted pretty well (13-of-16).”

In fact, Whitesboro scored more points from the charity line than they did from the field (5-of-36) while turning the ball over 21 times.

Webbers Falls jumped out to an 11-1 lead as Whitesboro didn’t get its first field goal until the 6:37 mark of the second quarter. But the Lady Warriors scored just five points the rest of the quarter and Whitesboro battled back to within three points at intermission.

Anistyn Garner gave the Lady Warriors a boost with a pair of 3-pointers early in the third quarter to give them a little more cushion which they eventually opened to 29-20 after three.

Brown led the Lady Bulldogs (11-3) with nine points. 

Boys: Webbers Falls 35, Dewar 31

Youthful Webbers Falls also took home the title on the boys side of the tournament and were successful due in part to their ability to control the tempo of the game.

"We knew going in that they like to play fast, want to shoot it in a hurry and get up and down the floor and score 80 points a game just like their football team," Webbers coach Jordan Garner said. "I thought we did a great job of controlling the tempo on both ends of the floors and they got a little impatient late in the game and that helped us get the win.”

The Warriors patiently worked the ball on offense and took only 27 shots from the field for the game, connecting on 13 while Dewar went 13-of-36 from the field.

As in the girls game, Webbers jumped out to an early lead only to see the Dragons battle back and eventually take a 23-20 lead at halftime. The third quarter ended in a 27-all tie and Dewar regained the lead at 31-29 with 3:48 to play. But the Warriors got buckets from Ashton Davis, Caden Dishman and free throws from Skelly Taylor down the stretch while holding the Dragons scoreless.

With the win the Warriors go to 6-3 on the season while Dewar drops to 5-4.

“We’re growing up some," Garner said. "We’ve just got one senior on the team and we play a lot of underclassmen and they’re just a fun bunch to coach and be with."

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