Gainesville falls to Ava, competes at Cabool Tourney

Photo by Karla Smith Gainesville’s Bryce Hambelton works against Ava’s Andrew Dalton during the Dec. 22 game at Ava High School

The Gainesville Bulldogs basketball team recently brought their season record to 7-4, racking up two wins at the Cabool Holiday Tournament after falling 50-40 to the Ava Bears in regular season play on Tuesday, Dec. 22. 

The Gainesville junior varsity took the court first at Ava High School and battled hard. The game was tied at halftime, but the Bears slipped by with a 35-34 win. The Bulldogs were led by Camden Evans with 15 points, followed by Andrew Hambelton with 6. Others scoring for Gainesville’s JV were Grayden Rowbotham 5, Sean Wallace 3, Garrett Taber and Jarrett Hogan with 2 each and Nathan Kiger with 1. The JV’s season record stands at 5-2.

Bryce Hambelton’s 15 points led Gainesville’s varsity team in their efforts against Ava, but the Bears outscored the Bulldogs in the last two quarters and won 50-40. Landry Jenkins scored 12 points, followed by Jake Leeker 6, Easton McGee 3 and Grayden Rowbotham 2.

The Bulldogs won two and lost two at the Cabool Holiday Tournament held Dec. 26-30. 

“At this point, we feel like we have played well enough to believe we can have solid teams; however, our consistency to execute on offense and defense is going to have to be much better,” said Gainesville head coach Morris Jenkins. “Offensively, we are going to need to improve on our decision-making, execute player movement more effectively, and work the ball into areas where we can create opportunities to get to the free throw line more. Defensively, we need to improve our ability to guard dribble penetration and to be better at our defensive rotations. This group shows a willingness to work together, which will help us as we strive to improve.”

In the first round on Dec. 26, Gainesville defeated Eminence 57-40. Bryce Hambelton scored 23 points, followed by Jake Leeker with 18. Wyatt Alms and Landry Jenkins added 5 each, while Carter Wise chipped in 4 and Easton McGee added 2. Hambelton and Leeker led the rebounding column with 6 and 5, respectively. Landry Jenkins led in assists with 6, followed by Easton McGee with 5. Wyatt Alms led in steals with 2.

On Monday, Dec. 28, the Bulldogs, who were ahead 17-9 after the first quarter, fell to the Norwood Pirates 59-46. Aside from Bryce Hambelton, who scored 16 points, all Gainesville players were held to single digits by the Pirates. Jenkins scored 9, Leeker added 7, McGee 4, Ryan Poe and Carter Wise 3, and Alms and Kiger 2. Hambelton led in rebounds with 12. Leeker led in assists with 4. Jenkins took 2 charges during the game.

Gainesville returned Tuesday, Dec. 29, and defeated Mansfield 52-47. Hambelton led the scoring with 20, followed by Leeker with 13, Jenkins with 9, Poe with 8 and Alms and McGee with 1 each. Hambelton led in rebounds with 13. Jenkins led in assists with 4 and took a charge during the game.

The win brought the Bulldogs to the fifth-place battle with tournament host Cabool, who won 52-46. Leeker led the scoring with 22 points, followed by Hambelton with 13. Jenkins scored 5, while Alms and McGee added 3 each. Players leading the rebounding column were Hambelton 7, McGee 6 and Jenkins 4. Jenkins led in assists with 7. Leeker led in steals with 3, and Alms took a charge.

The Bulldogs are traveling for their next four games. Tuesday, Jan. 5, they played Thayer.  Results of that game were not available at press time.

Friday, Jan. 8, Gainesville travels to Conway to take on the Bears at 7:30 p.m. Then they head to Sparta Tuesday, Jan. 12, to meet the Trojans at 7:15 p.m. On Friday, Jan. 15, the Bulldogs go to Dora to play the Falcons at 6 p.m. 

Ozark County Times

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