Leopards unable to keep first half spark in loss to Badgers in conf. series matchup

(2) Logan Schneider for Malvern steps behind the arc to shoot a three-pointer while teammate (10) Blace West focuses on the shot against Arkadelphia during senior high boys basketball action Friday, January 25, 2019 at the AHS Gymnasium.---Photo by Gerren Smith
Gerren Smith
Staff Writer

The hometown Malvern Leopards aimed for redemption to split their season meeting matchup in 7-4A Conference play on the road Friday, January 25, 2019 against their rivals' the Arkadelphia Badgers in senior high boys basketball action. The Leopards kept it close early in first half action, but the Badgers turned up their level of play in the second half to top Malvern, 74-56. Arkadelphia sweeps the series matchup in 7-4A Conference play over Malvern. The Leopards now fall to 4-5 in conference for a three-game losing skid. On Tuesday, January 29, 2019 the Leopards head back on the road for conference hoops at Bauxite, but fell short of victory to close out their league series matchup against the Miners, 80-73. Next week, the Leopards head to De Queen on February 5, 2019 to close out their league series matchup in 7-4A Conference play.

For game action in Arkadelphia, the Leopards only had a three-point deficit to the Badgers 16-13 at the end of the first quarter. Big man Logan Schneider and Dallas Lewis provided all of Malvern's first quarter scoring in the opening period. In the second, the Leopards made a strong run led by Lewis, London Flourence and John Nolen who split a pair of free-throws at the foul line that tied the game at 21-21 against the Badgers down to the 4:34 mark. The Leopards regain momentum for a 26-21 lead by Flourence, Schneider and Lewis all contributing buckets down to the 2:26 mark. Arkadelphia cut their deficit, but Schneider and Lewis each sparked for Malvern's final points scored of the half. The Badgers scored five key points in the final two minutes of the half to trail Malvern 29-25 at halftime.

In the second half, the Leopards built their biggest lead margin in the game during third quarter action. Schneider completed a three-point play for the Leopards at the 7:18 mark to give Malvern a 32-25 advantage at the start of third quarter action. The Badgers would trade baskets and lead changes with Malvern in the final seven minutes of play in the third. The Badgers outscored the Leopards 19-6 during play in the final seven minutes that gave Arkadelphia the 44-38 lead over Malvern to end third quarter competition. In the fourth, Malvern dropped 12 points on the scoreboard led by Dakovon Blackmon, Schneider, Lewis, Flourence and JJ Davis, who all contributed points scored in the period. The Badgers never trailed in the fourth by pouring 30 points through the net to secure a 18-point home win over the Leopards. Blackmon posted a dunk, with Lewis busting a trey from behind the arc for key highlights in the fourth. Schneider and Blackmon also went perfect from the free-throw line in the fourth.

For the game, Leopards' Schneider led scoring with a big 23 points and Lewis dropped 15 points for double-figures. Blackmon finished with eight points, Flourence added seven points, Davis contributed two points and Nolen chipped in one point from the charity stripe.