Photographs by Thomas Metthe
Imani Honey (center) of the West goes up for a shot over the East’s Keiunna Walker (left) during the third period of the West’s 86-79 victory in the Arkansas High School Association Girls All-Star basketball game Saturday at the University of Central Arkansas’ Farris Center in Conway. Honey, a 5-6 guard from Hot Springs, hit 6-of-9 field goal attempts and finished with 16 points and 7 rebounds. See more photos at arkansasonline.com/galleries.
Sunday, June 24, 2018
CONWAY -- With one exception, Imani Honey had good reasons to be pleased with all aspects of her game at the Farris Center Saturday afternoon.
Honey, a 5-6 guard from Hot Springs, hit 6 of 9 field-goal attempts and finished with 16 points and 7 rebounds in leading the West to an 86-79 victory over the East in the Arkansas High School Association All-Star girls basketball game at the University of Central Arkansas.
The one missing ingredient of Honey's game came from the free-throw line where she hit only 4 of 8 attempts.
"I had an experience in high school where I shot 29 free throws in one game," said Honey, who was named the game's MVP. "I was 25 of 29 and ever since then my free throws have been terrible. So I need to get back into a routine."
Saturday's game was close throughout. There were nine lead changes -- seven in the first half -- and the largest lead by either team was eight -- a 47-39 advantage for the West late in the first half.
Mountain Home's Hannah Pfeifer made a three-pointer to end the fourth period to give the East a 63-62 lead, but back-to-back baskets from Fayetteville's Jasmine Franklin and Honey put the West in front for good, although the East was as close as 79-77 with 1:50 remaining.
"When we got back up we knew we had to calm down," said Franklin, who also scored 16 points and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds. "The energy was great. We just had to control it."
The West enjoyed a 55-33 rebounding advantage and hit 23 of 37 free-throw attempts compared to only 5 of 13 by the East. The East kept the game close by hitting 12 of 29 three-pointers; the West was only 3 of 22 from three-point range.
Each team had only two practices, but both squads seemed to be thoroughly engaged with each other.
"The weird thing is that they stayed fresh," said Nettleton Coach Jason Smith, the East head coach. "When they've had five or six practices they tend to get sore and not want to practice by the end of the week. By the time the game gets here it's like 'thank goodness, we're going to get out of here soon.' ... A lot of them knew each other and that helped, but I think the big thing was that they are just a good group of kids."
"I think our kids did great," Charleston Coach Jason Rucker said of his West team. "I think they tried to do what we talked about as far as playing together and spreading the floor. If a teammate has a better shot, give it to them. But really, we just asked them to go out, compete and give us their best energy. I thought they did that."
Charleston's Hattie Newhart ended her career with a stellar effort. Newhart, a 5-10 forward who helped the Lady Tigers earn the Class 3A state title in March, hit 5 of 7 field-goal attempts, grabbed 4 rebounds, handed out 3 assists and made 2 steals.
"She played really well," Rucker said of Newhart. "The way she closed the season out for us in the state championship game and then to end her career right here, you couldn't ask for a better ending."
"This was my last game and I just wanted to go out on a high note and with a lot of energy," Newhart said. "I've had fun with it."
Ozark's Hannah Ladd and Ariel Walker also paced the West. Ladd scored 12 points while Walker handed out a game-high six assists.
Lonoke's Keiunna Walker led the East with 16 points on 7 of 14 shooting. She also was responsible for four assists and she blocked a shot. Little Rock Central's Erynn Barnum added 10 points
Pfeifer, who made 133 of 345 three-pointers for the Lady Bombers during her senior season, connected on 5 of 9 three-pointers on Saturday.
"I've played basketball my entire life and I've been in the gym a ton," Pfeifer said. "That's where I've developed shot."
The victory by the West stopped a six-game all-star losing streak. The East leads the series 31-25.
"I think everybody gave it their best shot," Honey said. "We were determined. We were told that the East had dominated in recent years, but we were like 'no, no, no, not this year.' We were ready to put an end to that."
Italei Gray 0 0-0 0, Imani Honey 6 4-8 16, Gracen Smith 0 0-0 0, Ariel Walker 0 0-0 0, Hannah Ladd 4 4-5 12, Cassandra Bell 1 1-2 3, Breanna dorsey 1 1-1 3, Rieley Jo Hooten 0 0-0 0, Hattie Newhart 5 2-6 13, Taylor Wells 1 0-0 3, Jasmine Franklin 5 6-7 16, Cheyenne Shelton 0 0-0 0, Fess Hawkins 2 2-4 7, Jerica Bell 4 0-0 8. Totals 30 23-37 86.
Natalie Lentz 2 0-0 5, Keiunna Walker 7 0-2 16, Haven Robertson 0 0-0 0, Brooke Zimmerman 1 0-0 2, Cardrina Nolen 3 0-0 6, Amber Hawkison 2 1-3 5, Erynn Barnum 4 2-3 10, Brittany Sain 1 0-0 3, Kylie Warren 1 1-2 4, Hannah Pfeifer 5 0-0 15, Ebonee Whitney 0 0-1 0, Marleigh Dodson 2 0-0 5, Morgan Christian 3 1-2 8. Totals 31 5-13 79.
West;17 15 15 15 24 -- 86
East;13 14 15 21 16 -- 79
Three-point goals -- West 3 (Newhart, Wells, Hawkins). East 12 (Pfeifer 5, K. Walker 2, Lentz, Sain, Warren, Dodson, Christian). Rebounds -- West 55 (Franklin 8); East 33 (Nolen 4, Walker 4). Assists -- West 16 (A. Walker 6); East 20 (K. Walker 4). Steals -- West 8 (Newhart 2); East 8 (Christian 2). Team fouls -- West 17, East 23.
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