By Ryan Atkinson
Globe Sports Writer
Call the Hogs. Give a cheer for the Natural State.
It’ll be an all-Arkansas finale today in Joplin High’s Freeman/Lady Eagle Classic.
Harrison withstood a spirited Blue Valley West rally in a 44-38 in the first semifinal Friday night before Har-Ber rolled to a 65-37 win over Marshfield in the nightcap at MSSU’s Robert Ellis Young Gymnasium.
The Goblins and Wildcats will meet at approximately 5:30 p.m. for the tourney title.
“That would be huge,” Harrison coach Doug Young said of a possible tournament championship for his 4-3 Goblins. “We’re tickled to death to have an opportunity to play for it. It’s been a long time since Harrison has been in the final. We’re looking forward to it.”
The Wildcats (5-2) would be just as thrilled with the title after taking second in the Willard tournament last week.
“This was one of goals to start the season,” Har-Ber coach Sandy Wright said. “We took second so we’re wanting to win this one pretty bad.”
Harrison 44, Blue Valley West 38
The opener was a game highlighted by two runs.
The first came by Blue Valley West, which found itself trailing by as many as 10 in the third quarter.
The Jaguars (1-1) used a 12-0 run — highlighted by Hope Witaszak’s 3-point play and Jordan Wright’s 3-pointer on consecutive possessions — to take a 31-26 lead with 7:08 left in the game.
But that was when Harrison started its run, scoring nine of the next 10 points, including a Sydnee King trey and four straight points from Taylor Tate, whose steal and layup with 3:27 remaining gave the Goblins a 35-32 lead.
“I thought our kids showed a lot of character,” Young said. “They maintained their composure and took care of the ball. We don’t have any seniors and we’re pretty young. (Blue Valley West) played excellent defense and to withstand that and keep our composure was big.”
Cara Barrett led Harrison with 19 points, hitting 3 of her 5 treys and 8-of-10 foul shots. King added 12. Tate (seven points) and Emily Poynor (six) were the only other Goblins to score.
Blue Valley West was led by Adriana Jadlow and Emily Engelken, who each scored nine. Wright added eight.
Har-Ber 65, Marshfield 37
For the second night in a row, Har-Ber started slow. For the second night in a row, it didn’t matter.
Marshfield scored nine of the game’s first 12 points before the Wildcats began to dominate, ending the first quarter on a 13-0 run and building a 13-point lead at halftime.
“We started slow again but we told them we wanted our defense to create some things for us and I think it did,” Wright said. “We started getting some deflections and steals and converting them.”
Har-Ber forced Harrison (2-3) into 27 turnovers — 13 in the first half and 14 in the second. The Wildcats pulled away in the third quarter and led by as many as 30 in the fourth quarter.
“That was one of our goals coming in, to force them into mistakes,” Wright said.
Samantha Weber scored a game-high 20 points for Har-Ber, hitting three 3-pointers and going 5-of-6 from the foul line. Haley McCarver came off the bench to add 12 points while Bailey Schalk scored 11.
Makenna Smith led Marshfield with 12 points and Maddie McCall added eight.