By Tony Burns
El Dorado’s Joderrio Ramey beat the buzzer with a runner in the lane Friday night, lifting the Wildcats to a 66-64 win over Texarkana. The Lady Wildcats controlled most of their game and won 55-37 in varsity girls.
It was Ramey’s second buzzer beater against the Razorbacks this season for El Dorado, which played without head coach Gary Simmons, who missed the game with an illness.
Assistant coach Dawson Yates took the reins of the team, which rallied from a 16-point third quarter deficit.
With the score knotted at 64-64, El Dorado called a timeout with about 12 seconds remaining.
“I walked into that timeout. I put the board over my mouth and I asked who wanted it,” said Yates. “Joe was the first one to speak up. So, I gave it to Joe and everyone else get out of the way.”
With a one-four low set, Ramey had plenty of room against Texarkana’s man-to-man defense.
He exploded past his defender and into the lane before pulling up for a soft floater, which went through the net as the horn sounded, sending the home crowd into a tizzy.
“The first thought in my head was to take the jump shot,” Ramey said. “But, it wasn’t there so I kept going.”
The Razorbacks used a 10-2 run to build a 34-25 lead midway in the second.
Texarkana led 32-27 at the half and was up 49-33 after Fabian Phillips’ jumper with 5:41 left in the third. But, the game changed when Texarkana’s center Ajon Gray, picked up his fourth and fifth fouls on the same play.
He was whistled for over the back and then drew a technical foul after slamming the ball to the court. Despite making just 1-of-4 free throws, the Wildcats still went on a 10-0 run, capped by Bishop Foster’s 3-pointer with 3:32 left in the third.
El Dorado took advantage of Gray’s absence as football tight end Alex Boone went into the game and began playing bully ball on the lock block.
Buckets by Boone and Foster cut the deficit to 51-47. Texarkana hit four straight free throws before B.J. Johnson’s 3-pointer cut the margin to 55-50 going into the fourth.
The Wildcats pounded the ball back inside to Boone, who scored again.
But, the Razorbacks fought back and pushed the lead back to 59-54 with 5:59 left.
Foster came up large again, draining another 3-pointer before Ramey got loose for a lay-up, tying the game at 59-59 midway in the fourth.
Texarkana hit a free throw but Keshun Greene score on the block for the Wildcats.
The Razorbacks took a 64-61 lead after a bucket and two free throws by Micha Yarber.
El Dorado responded with a free throw by Foster before Ramey penetrated and dished to Boone, whose bucket tied the game 64-61 with 1:15 left to play.
The Wildcats forced a turnover on the defensive end with just over a minute remaining and held for the final shot.
After two timeouts, Ramey tried on the hero’s cape and it fit.
“Just put the ball in my hands and I’ll get the win for us,” said Ramey. “I wanted (the ball) pretty bad because I made the buzzer-beating shot (at Texarkana) and I thought I could do it again. Shout out to the bench because they did real good.”
“Crowd was awesome. Bench was awesome. I’m just extremely proud,” said Yates. “I put my heart in my point guard’s hands. He took it home for me.”
Phillips led Texarkana with 21 while DeJordan Mask scored 12 and Yarber 10.
Johnson led El Dorado with 21 points while Ramey and Foster contributed 15 and 14, respectively.
Boone and Greene combined for 14 points in the paint and cause a lot of damage after Gray fouled out.
“The paint was open all night. We got paint touches all night and I was pleading for them to just keep getting paint touches,” said Yates. “So, yes, as soon as he went out, we were going right to it, as close as we could get to the basket. This is huge.
“Coach Simmons has given us his heart every night. There’s not a guy in our state that spends more time just bleeding and sweating basketball. He’s given his heart and it’s hurting him, right now. This was huge for us. I went into that lockerroom at halftime and I asked for their heart and they gave it to us. I hope going on from now, every day we wear that jersey, we keep giving them our heart.”
The Lady Wildcats improved to 9-10 with their victory.
Although El Dorado never trailed, the game was close, especially for the first half.
It was tied 10-10 after one quarter and the Lady Wildcats led 21-18 at the half.
Tasia Richardson hit a 3-pointer and followed with a three-point play, which helped open up a 28-21 lead.
She hit another 3-pointer during an 11-3 run as the lead swelled to 41-28 late in the third. The margin was 44-30 before Texarkana scored five quick points. But, the Lady Wildcats put the game away with 11 unanswered points down the stretch.
“It was definitely ugly. But, we played a lot better in the second half. So, I am proud of that,” said El Dorado coach Destinee Rogers. “Tasia started out slow. I got on her a little bit at halftime and she responded well. Tasia and Diamond Hawthorne are our leaders, right now, and we go as they go. I thought Diamond and Tasia brought the energy in the second half and everybody else followed suit.”
Richardson led El Dorado with 19 points. Kierra Boone scored 11 with eight rebounds. Boone converted on 9-of-14 at the free throw line.
Grace Murry scored 10 points and Hawthorne scored seven points and grabbed eight boards.
Kiara Young led Texarkana with eight.
El Dorado applied full court pressure from start to finish, which seemed to wear down the Lady Razorbacks.
“That’s the key. If we didn’t pressure them and make their shots tough, we would’ve struggled with them like we did the last time,” said Rogers. “We’re trying to be more of a pressure team. We don’t do well just sitting back in half court. We have to get up and run and pressure people. We’ve found some success doing that and we’ll continue to try it.”