Three really good Wildcats can slay one Dragon, no matter how fierce he is.
University of Arkansas signee Nate Rakestraw buried six 3-pointers and scored 26 points Michael Sanchez added 19 points and 12 rebounds and P.J. Shannon notched 18 points as Springdale Har-Ber routed Junction City 84-60 Friday night at Bud Walton Arena in the Holiday Hoops semifinals.
That trio was clearly enough to offset Junction City star and Oklahoma State signee James Anderson, who had a game-high 33 points but needed 25 shots to get them.
"We came out fired up, played great defense and just shot the ball really, really well," Rakestraw said. "We knew we were playing a great player and a very good team and I just wanted to step my game up and help my team and we really all just stepped it up tonight."
Rakestraw, who showed off his leaping ability on a breakaway dunk, was on fire while making 6-of-8 pointers on a night when Har-Ber was a sizzling 14 of 20 (70 percent) from 3-point range.
Shannon was 6-of-9 from 3-point range and Sanchez and John Tyson both knocked down a -ange bomb as well as Har-Ber (5-2) advance to play Duncanville (9-0) in Saturday's championship game at 5 p.m.
"I think we did a good job defensively tonight and that got those guys pumped up and they shot the ball well," Har-Ber head coach Eric Burnett added. "They got a rhythm going and felt good about themselves.
"If we shoot like that, Mike is going to be able to have a field day inside," noted Burnett who missed Thursday's 80-68 win over Columbus (Miss) New Hope while his wife Michelle was in labor with their daughter Malia. "It is like picking your poison."
Sanchez did play well inside while going 20 minutes, his longest stint of playing time since returning from two surgical procedures on his knee.
"There was a lot of competition out there on the floor tonight and I think it made the game more exciting," Sanchez said. "The game pace kind of picked up. It was fun and I enjoyed it.
"It was definitely the most minutes I have played this season," Sanchez added. "I have been tapering off each game saving my legs. This game really mattered a lot so I had to do what I had to do."
Of course, Sanchez loved it that Shannon and Rakestraw were burying 3-pointers.
"P.J. knocking down shots is just another person that have to get out on and guard," Sanchez said. "It opens everybody else up, especially inside. Especially with Nate shooting it really, really well right now."
Shawn Williams, a 6-6 sophomore, had 34 points, 9 rebounds, 5 steals and 3 blocks on Friday night as Duncanville downed Monroe (La.) Richwood 85-63 to advance to meet Har-Ber.
"It will be a fast-paced game," Sanchez said. "We have got to stay calm. They liked to push the ball a lot and run up and down the court, but we need to make them play our game."
Anderson was 8-of-23 from the field, 1-of-9 from 3-point rantge and 16-of-22 from the free throw line.
He has scored 76 points in his two tournament games after breaking the event scoring record with 43 on Thursday night.
"What I did was put Nate on him and had another 6-4 kid come at him at times with his arms up," Burnett said. "I told him I don't want you jumping, just get him in the little circle between you and Nate and not let him get around you."
In other action Friday, sophomore Fred Gulley had 14 points and 8 rebounds as Fayetteville edged Columbus (Miss.) New Hope 52-51 in a consolation bracket game despite 6-10 Rashanti Harris' 15 points and 16 rebounds.
The other Friday game featured Forrest City routing Springdale 85-57 with Kelson Stewart's 18 points and 13 rebounds leading the way:
7th place: Springdale vs. New Hope, 12:30 p.m.
5th place: Fayetteville vs. Forrest City, 2 p.m.
3rd place: Richwood vs. Junction City 3:30 p.m.
Championship game: Har-Ber vs. Duncanville, 5 p.m.
Hawgs Daily Top Stories
TCU vs Iowa State primerAfter falling in double-overtime to Arkansas, TCU looks to get back to their winning ways against Iowa State.
Horned Frog Insider09/15/2016
The Ultimate Midlands TeamThere is a lot of talent in the Midlands region, with a vast majority of the highest rated recruits playing high school football in the Lone Star State. Which prospects made the…
These rival helmet color swaps are revoltingSwapping rival teams' helmet colors? It shouldn't have been done, but someone did it anyway.
Post-July 2017 Top 100 Player RankingsWith the July evaluation periods, Nike Skills Academy, adidas Nations and Under Armour's Elite 24 over, Scout's basketball recruiting team has updated the 2017 top 100. DeAndre…
2017 South Region Top 150The stars are lined up in the 2017 South Top 150 and you can see the full pre-season list here...