Eagles hold off Bombers for 2-point win

Mike McKinney / Daily Press

Zane Butler passes the ball to a teammate in front of Mountain Home's Dawson Tabor and Abe Crawford (14) Tuesday night in a senior boys game at GCT Arena. The Eagles prevailed 41-39, improving to 16-1 overall.

Greene County Tech won another nailbiter to improve to 2-0 in the 5A-East after holding off Mountain Home 41-39 Tuesday at the GCT Arena.

Zane Butler, who hit the game-winner in a 58-56 conference-opening win over Nettleton last Friday, scored to give GCT a 41-37 lead at the 2:00 mark and the Golden Eagles escaped with the two-point win when Wyatt Gilbert's 16-foot jumper went off the back of the rim as time expired.

Cade Cancilla provided a pivotal three-point play in the fourth period and finished with 11 points for the Eagles.

Ranked eighth overall and second in Class 5A in the Arkansas Sports Media high school poll, the Eagles (15-1, 2-0 5A-East) had to overcome a second-quarter drought to keep their winning streak alive.

Butler scored eight points of his team-high 23 points and Jayke Bolen knocked down a triple for a two-point lead before the Bombers pulled into a 16-16 tie with the Eagles at the first period's end.

But GCT went cold in the second, managing only a Butler two-point bucket while the Bombers took advantage of the home team's cold streak and opened a 26-18 advantage at intermission.

The Eagles offense perked up some in the third as Butler opened the frame with four unanswered points and closed it with a trey to give GCT a one-point lead going into the fourth.

Cancilla scored and was fouled on the play, adding the free throw to give Tech a little breathing room at 38-34. It would prove huge as the Eagles could muster only three more points down the stretch.

The Eagles began milking the clock but the Bombers came up with the ball and a bucket by Gilbert sliced the lead in half, 41-39.

With the clock under a minute to play, Mountain Home got a chance when Jake McGehee stole a pass. After a timeout, the Bombers worked the ball around until Gilbert took a pass, faked two GCT defenders into the air and launched a jump shot, but it was too long, as time ran out.

Mat Jones led Mountain Home (9-6, 0-2) with 15, with Satch Harris adding 10. Gilbert finished with seven.

Mountain Home 51, GCT 40 (girls)

The Lady Bombers connected on seven 3-pointers in the first half while rolling out to a 35-16 halftime lead and never looked back, earning their first conference win of the season.

Tech (3-11, 0-2 conference) outscored Mountain Home 17-8 in the final frame but couldn't dig itself out of the double-digit hole.

Kate Gilbert and Emily Payne combined for 29 points and hit seven of their team's eight triples as the Lady Bombers (12-3, 1-1) led from start to finish.

Mountain Home jumped out to a 17-4 lead after one quarter, then unleashed its three-point attack on the Lady Eagles in the next frame. Payne hit consecutive 3s as the Bombers' lead expanded to 23-4 to start the second period.

Gilbert later buried a pair of 3s in a 9-2 run that helped stretch the visitors' lead to 35-16 at the break.

After halftime, both teams struggled on the offensive end for a few minutes. Hannah Foster came off the GCT bench to score the first points of the frame -- a three-pointer -- at the 3:24 mark cutting the lead to 16, 35-19. But Mountain Home got five straight points from Gilbert, who's old fashioned three-point play pushed the difference to 20 heading into the last period.

Extending its defense full-court, GCT chipped away at the lead in the fourth, using 3-point buckets by Kylie Stokes and Emma Bates to get within 10 at 50-40 with just over a minute left. But that was as close as Tech would get as the Lady Eagles were unable to score the rest of the way.

Gilbert led Mountain Home with 17 points on four 3-pointers and Payne wound up with 12.

For GCT, Carly DeHart scored eight, Stokes and Foster had six each, Carleigh Hollis and Brooke Barnes hit five each, Bates three and Brooke Justus two.

GCT goes to Jonesboro on Friday.

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