The Bossier Bearkats and the Benton Lady Tigers advanced to the boys and girls championship games of the Doc Edwards Invitational basketball tournament sponsored by Willis-Knighton Health System with victories Tuesday night.
The Bearkats downed host Airline 72-58 in the boys semifinals. The Lady Tigers withstood a big second-half rally by North Caddo before subduing the two-time defending Class 2A state champion and previously undefeated Lady Rebles 71-65 in the girls semifinals.
Benton faces another undefeated team from District 1-2A, Red River, in the championship game at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Airline. Red River defeated Southwood 60-55 in its semifinal game.
Bossier plays District 1-4A foe Fair Park at 8 in the boys championship game. The Indians scored the final seven points of overtime in a 74-72 victory over Huntington.
Parkway advanced to the boys consolation finals with a 74-50 victory over 1-5A rival Byrd. The Panthers play Red River, an 87-85 winner over North Webster, for the consolation title at 1 p.m.
North Caddo plays Southwood in the girls third-place game at 2:30. That will be followed by the boys third-place game between Airline and Huntington. They gym will then be cleared before the championship games. Admission is $8.
Bossier held at slim 11-8 lead over Airline after a quarter and then blew the game open with a 23-7 second quarter.
Senior guard Larry Robinson III led the Bearkats with 22 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals. Travis Manning scored 17 points, including two 3-pointers, and had four assists and two steals. Quatavious Capers added nine points and Tyrese English had eight. Chris Davenport had 11 points, six rebounds and three blocks.
Ty Robinson, who hit three 3-pointers, paced Airline with 17 points. KJ Bilbo added 10.
Benton got off to a great start against North Caddo, which had a 24-game winning streak over the last two seasons snapped. The Lady Tigers played near-perfect basketball in the first half and led 30-20.
Benton started fast in the third quarter, extending its lead to 15. But North Caddo’s pressure defense began to pay dividends and the Lady Rebels came all the way back to tie it.
But the Lady Tigers scored four straight points to end the quarter for a 43-39 lead. Benton stretched the lead to eight early in the quarter, but North Caddo didn’t go quietly.
North Caddo whittled a seven-point Benton lead to three with 17 seconds left. Clutch free throw shooting, offensive rebounding and solid defense down the stretch contributed to the victory. The Lady Tigers forced a late turnover to seal it.
Senior Brandy Harris and freshman Emily Ward led Benton with 26 and 25 points, respectively. LeLe Carper added eight and Lazaria Lloyd seven.
Aimee Gentry played solid defense and handled the basketball effectively. Freshman forward Abbie Wynn played some quality minutes when starter Lloyd fouled out with about three minutes to play.
Jasmine Thomas had a big game for North Caddo with 30 points.
Parkway led Byrd 35-33 at the half then pulled away from the Jackets with a dominating second half. The Panthers held the Jackets to just 17 points in the final two minutes.
Kamren Davis led Parkway with 16 points. Robert McKnight and Justin Rogers scored 13 each. Terrace Marshall added 12.
— Russell Hedges, email@example.com