That big blue blur that blew through the 6A State Tournament was Greenwood.
The Lady Bulldogs put the exclamation mark on a dominating 10-day, four-game run to the 6A championship with a 64-49 win against Little Rock Parkview on Saturday at Summit Arena in Hot Springs.
The trio of Megan Hartness, Lundon Williams and Haleigh Henson combined for 59 points. Hartness was named the Most Valuable Player with 27 points after converting 15-of-17 free throws and grabbing 11 rebounds. Hartness had four three-point plays. Williams had 16 points and five assists. Henson scored 16 points by hitting 4-of-9 from 3-point range and had three assists.
The championship is the third for the Lady Bulldogs in the past five years and second in the past three. It was also the sixth state title for Greenwood head coach Clay Reeves, who also won three at Greenland.
Greenwood (27-6) won its four 6A State Tournament games by an average of 32 points per game and averaged 76.4 points per game.
"Our teams played great through the state tournament and was outstanding today," Reeves said. "It was a great season altogether, but the end of the season just went great, perfect."
The Lady Bulldogs knocked down 50.6 percent of their shots in the three state tournament games at Jonesboro leading up to Saturday’s championship game. But they missed their first six shots on Saturday and converted only one of their first nine in the game’s opening four minutes.
"I knew we would eventually hit," Reeves said. "Teams a lot of the time start out that way. Starting out cold didn’t bother me. We have a lot of outstanding offensive players and I have a lot of confidence in their scoring. I knew we would eventually start hitting. We were playing defense and rebounding on the other end. We knew it wouldn’t be anything like last week, scoring that quickly and that easily."
Greenwood’s sluggish start only delayed the inevitable with Parkview managing just a 5-2 lead. Williams tied the game with a 3-pointer. After Sausha Davey scored inside for Parkview’s final lead of the game at 7-5 with 3:39 left in the first quarter, the Lady Bulldogs reeled off a 9-0 run.
Henson drilled consecutive 3-pointers. Hartness converted a basket and free throw for another three-point possession for a 14-7 Greenwood lead with 1:23 left in the first quarter.
Greenwood settled for a 17-11 lead after the quarter and opened the second quarter with an 8-0 run.
Williams drilled another 3, Hartness added a conventional three-point play and Sarah Elkins scored off an offensive rebound for a 25-11 cushion with 6:41 left in the half.
Greenwood led 36-24 at the half, but that was 15 points less than the Lady Bulldogs averaged in the first half during the first three games of the state tournament. Parkview answered with 20 points in an inspired third quarter to pull close.
"Parkview was a different team in the state tournament," Reeves said. "Parkview knew when they got to the state tournament, that they could get here again."
The Lady Patriots, playing in their fourth consecutive championship game and belying their 12-12 regular-season record, used a 9-0 run late in the third quarter to draw within three at 47-44 with 1:14 left in the quarter.
"Parkview has a lot of tradition," Reeves said. "I knew they’d make a run at us at the end, and our players just responded. We got big rebounds and hit big free throws that they needed to hit. That just shows how tough the 7A/6A-Central was. Parkview finished sixth in the regular season in our conference, and they’re playing for a state championship."
Jaylen Davis did most of the damage in the run with a 3-pointer, a fast-break layup and a steal and layup to cap the run.
"We talked about being aggressive and getting off those screens, contesting shots and limiting their threes," Parkview head coach LaHoma Howard said. "We know that’s what they like to do."
Henson stymied the rally with the Lady Bulldogs’ first 3 of the second half with 57 seconds left in the third quarter after she and Williams combined for six in the first half.
"It was a big 3," Reeves said. "She usually hits 3s at the right time, but a lot of our players make those plays at the right time. Haleigh had the 3, we hit our free throws, Lundon took care of the ball, our post players did a great job playing defense. It was a great total team effort."
Hartness added another conventional three-point play as the Lady Bulldogs were up 53-44 to end the third quarter.
Greenwood cemented the win with nine free throws down the stretch.
Davis led Parkview with 16 points.
High School Basketball
Arkansas Activities Association State Championships
Greenwood 64, Little Rock Parkview 49
Greenwood 17 19 17 11 — 64
Parkview 11 13 20 5 — 49
Greenwood (27-6): Hartness 27, Henson 16, Williams 16, Branum 3, Elkins 2.
Parkview (15-13): Davis 16, Holloway 10, Davey 10, Brady 7, Wilson 6.