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Bobcats Slay the Pirates

HALLSVILLE — Friday night it seemed the Hallsville Bobcats couldn't miss a shot. They just as well have played the game blindfolded.

That might have made things a little more interesting.

The red-hot combo of Shadd Berg and Jeremy Swalley accounted for 43 points as the Bobcats delivered an emphatic 77-46 decision over the Pine Tree Pirates.

Berg led the charge with 23 points, including seven from beyond the arc. Swalley, meanwhile, added 20 points and dropped four from the promised land.

The Bobcats, which spotted Pine Tree a 7-0 lead, closed with a flurry of threes from Swalley and Berg and held a 20-18 lead after one.

Hallsville finished the night connecting on 60 percent of its shots from the field and 9 of 11 from the free throw line.

"This was a must-win game for us. We had to win. Anytime it's Hallsville and Pine Tree, you're not gonna have to fire the kids up," said a quite content Bobcat boss Rusty Walker.

"We had a couple of kids step up big tonight and our bench played well. It was a real team effort tonight."

Pine Tree got out quickly when Isaiah Lawson ripped a three off the opening tap. Pokey Best parlayed a steal into points and JJ Sparkman flushed one in transition for a 7-0 advantage with not even a minute elapsed.

Swalley's trey from deep in the corner at 4:26 of the first gave Hallsville its first lead of the night at 12-9.

A Berg bomb stretched the margin to 20-13 before Best converted a layup and canned a three to close the quarter.

Sparkman's fallaway in the paint knotted the score at 20-all with less than a minute gone in the second.

Momentum shifted from that point following the Sparkman bucket as Kobe Hogan hit a driving layup and tacked on a free throw to jump start a 9-0 run.

The Pirates went ice cold as Sparkman accounted for all five second quarter points. Pine Tree could only connect on one of its five efforts in the period.

Brenton Allen was sinking a couple freebies and going coast-to-coast for a layup and 35-21 Bobcat lead with under three to go in the half.

The Bobcat barrage continued when Hogan made a nice kickout to Berg for a trey and Swalley stole a lazy pass and popped another three at the horn.

Hallsville's 21-5 second quarter surge enabled the Bobcats to assume comfortable 41-23 lead at intermission.

Back-to-back launches from Berg started Hallsville off in the third and kept the cushion at 59-39 going into to the fourth quarter.

Hallsville improves to 16-14 overall and 4-5 in District 16-5A play, while Pine Tree drops to 9-14 and 2-8, respectively.

The Bobcats will visit Marshall on Tuesday, while the Pirates get a bye until Senior Night against Marshall on Friday.

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