Western Yell Countzy hosted Magazine for the opener of the new blended Class 1A/2A conference Friday night.
For sports other than football, the Arkansas Activities Association switched to blended conference play this season of schools based on geography to shrink travel budgets.
After the season coaches from the respective conferences, in Magazine’s case the 2A-4, will meet to seed the year end conference tournaments.
In recording a sweep of 2A-4 East’s WYC, Magazine’s Sr. Lady Rattlers, Sr. Rattlers and Jr. Lady Rattlers are off to a 1-0 start in the blended conference.
Friday night it was Kalyn Bryan and Kelsey Krigbaum leading the Lady Rattlers to a narrow win, Matt Smith scoring 19 second half points to lead the Rattlers into the win column, and Kiara Vasquez outscoring WYC by herself in the junior girls game.
The remainder of Magazine’s blended conference includes Johnson County Westside and Danville from the 2A4 West, Hector from the 2A4 East and, Oark and Scranton from Class A. Magazine has previously played three 2A-4 West schools this season and will play two others.
Sr. Lady Rattlers 53 WYC 30
Rachael Phillips scored the first point of the game at the free throw line but Western Yell went in front 2-1 on a basket by 20 and led the rest of the half.
Magazine (7-4) got within 8-7 on a Hannah Smith basket in the first quarter but was down six, 15-9, when the quarter ended. The Lady Rattlers got within 15-14 on a Keaira Thomas basket with 5:25 left in the first half and 22-21 on another Thomas basket 1:40 before the half.
At the half Kelsey Krigbaum had 9 points to lead Magazine. Kalyn Bryan hadn’t scored, but that was going to change.
Kia Yang scored to get Magazine to within one again at 24-23 and Phillips did so 43 seconds later to make it 26-25 in favor of WYC before Thomas hit to give Magazine the lead, 27-26. Bryan then hit two shots in 30 seconds to make it 32-26.
Bryan went on to score 11 straight for Magazine over 3:14 and the Lady Rattlers were up 38-33.
After 10 scored to make it 38-35, two Krigbaum free throws made it a five point game again going to the fourth.
Magazine twice built an 8-point lead in the first 2:40 of the final quarter but WYC chipped away, getting as close as 50-48 on a basket by Adrianna Hall with 16 seconds to go.
Hall finished with 10 and Andrea Balboena had 16 to lead all players.
Krigbaum, who scored 14 to lead Magazine, then hit both ends of a one-and-one with 12.4 seconds to go to make it 52-48 and, back at the line, converted one of two on the double bonus foul with 2.7 seconds to go after 24 made it 52-50.
A desperation heave to tie it at the buzzer was off the mark.
Rattlers 51 WYC 38
With 33.1 seconds to go in the first quarter Matt Smith was about to shoot his second of a two shot foul when he was called for a technical foul for wearing jewelry. Smith had made the first free throw to make it 15-8.
Smith, who had 3 points and 3 assists at that point, had those same numbers at the half and Magazine was only up 25-23 as Austin Rhodes scored 9 of his 13 points in a span of 5:40.
Gavin Rambo scored for WYC 21 seconds into the third quarter and the game was tied for the first time since Smith’s first basket tied it at 7.
Smith scored on an assist from Randon Baumgartner on the next possession and Magazine (7-2) had the lead for good. The same two combined again to make it 29-25.
After a Deven Chappell free throw and a Baumgartner basket, Smith scored Magazine’s next 9 points and Magazine was up 41-32 with 7:36 to play.
A Max Greb basket pushed the lead to double digits for the first time before a couple of free throws by Aaron Gomez and a basket by Ace Walker got WYC back to within 7, 43-36.
Smith scored again but couldn’t convert the 3-point play and Shaffer Loyd and Chappell added free throws before Smith scored again to make it 49-36 with 57 seconds left.
Smith scored again 22 seconds later giving him 19 points in the half and 22 in the game.
The final basket came on an assist from Baumgartner for the fourth time in the half. Baumgartner finished with 6 assists and 9 points. James Burr had 11 points for the Rattlers.
Jr. Lady Rattlers 28 WYC 13
With Kiara Vasquez scoring the first 6 points of the game, over a span of 1:40, the Lady Rattlers were in complete control throughout.
Magazine led 8-2 after one quarter and was up 17-2, with the last 4 points coming from Taryn Leslie, before WYC scored their only second quarter points 26 seconds before the intermission to make it 17-4.
Vasquez, who had gone to the bench with three first half fouls, scored twice in a span of 1:04 including hitting two free throws, a rarity for the Lady Rattlers this season – they were 4-for-13 Friday – and it was 21-8 before she picked up her fourth.
Then the Lady Rattlers (4-5) saw Western Yell trim the lead to 21-11 before Tannea Thomas hit one free throw with 10.5 seconds left in the third quarter.
Two more Vasquez buckets gave her 14 before she fouled out and it was 26-11 with 4:04 to go. Thomas, who scored 9, accounted for the final Magazine points with 3:34 to play.