Just mere seconds into Tuesday's 6A-Central showdown, the Northside Lady Bears delivered an early knockout blow.

Coming off the opening tip, Sara Bershers took a pass from her sister Tracey and launched a 3-pointer.

Two possessions later, Tracey Bershers found Jersey Wolfenbarger open for a 3, which made it 6-0, and Northside added a Deairah Mays basket shortly thereafter to build an 8-0 lead.

The 6A No. 1 ranked Lady Bears rode that hot start, especially getting shots to fall from outside, as they never trailed en route to taking command of the conference after a decisive 71-57 win against No. 2 ranked Conway at Kaundart-Grizzly Fieldhouse.

"We knew it was going to be a dogfight, so we just came out trying to throw the first punch and continue to dominate," Wolfenbarger — who led all scorers with 28 points — said.

"Big team win; it took everybody doing their job and playing their roles. ... We got in a little lull (in the second half), but I felt like because we continued to fight, we were able to get out of that and be able to build off of our lead."

After the 8-0 start, Conway was able to get within two (9-7), but Northside (23-0, 11-0) ended the first quarter on a 12-2 spurt to build a 21-9 advantage.

The Lady Bears, who hit five 3's in the opening quarter, then kept making 3's.

Northside made four more 3's in the second quarter, capped by a 3 from Wolfenbarger as the Lady Bears built their biggest lead at 27 points, 45-18, inside the final minute of the first half.

The Lady Bears ended up making all nine of their 3's in the first half, with Wolfenbarger and Sara Bershers each making four 3's.

Northside coach Rickey Smith said there was no question the first half was the best the Lady Bears played all season.

"Yes, without a doubt, they came to play. ... I told them there was a look in their eyes that I hadn't seen in a long time, and I had never seen," Smith said. "They came to play in the first half."

Conway (22-4, 9-2), which was held to two 3's in the opening half, hit nine treys in the second half to make things interesting late. The Lady Wampus Cats' last 3, from Reagan Roetzel, made it a nine-point game, 66-57, with 1:50 left.

But the Lady Bears closed things out at the free-throw line.

Sara Bershers hit one free throw and though she missed the second, teammate Tiya Douglas came up with the offensive rebound. Northside worked some clock, and Jazz Coleman was eventually fouled with 49 seconds left, and hit both foul shots for a 69-57 lead.

Wolfenbarger sealed the win with two more free throws seconds later.

"I'm very proud of our performance; we worked really hard in practice. ... This was just another game; we've got to keep going and we've got to get better for the state tournament," Sara Bershers said.

"We've just got to do what we came to do to win. ... We came out shooting with all kinds of confidence and that really helps, because the shooters have got to keep shooting."

Bershers added 19 points for the Lady Bears. Conway got 13 points from Jaiden Thomas and 12 from Roetzel.

Northside 59, Conway 58

BOYS — When the two teams played at Conway last month, the Grizzlies jumped out to a 13-0 lead, only to have the Wampus Cats rally for a one-point win.

In Tuesday's rematch, the Wampus Cats nearly pulled off another comeback as they trailed by 15 points early in the fourth quarter. But the Grizzlies made some big foul shots down the stretch to hang on, as Conway hit a 3 from half-court at the buzzer to make the final margin one point.

Northside (16-9, 7-4) got a very important win as the Grizzlies stayed within striking distance of landing in the top two in the 6A-Central and getting a first-round bye at the state tournament. The Grizzlies trail first-place Bryant by three games with three games to go, but now pull within a game of both Conway (17-6, 8-3) and North Little Rock for second place.

On Friday, the Grizzlies will travel to North Little Rock.

The Grizzlies built a 15-point lead in Tuesday's win, 44-29, when Javion Releford launched a 3-pointer with nearly six minutes to go. Northside still had control with two minutes left, after Jaylin Williams fed Semonte Henderson inside for a basket for a 53-42 advantage.

But Conway gradually crept back and made it a one-possession game, 55-52, with 27 seconds left. Releford was fouled and went 1-of-2 from the line, but the Wampus Cats converted a three-point play with 12 seconds left, making it 56-55.

Releford was fouled seconds later and made both foul shots in a double-bonus situation. He then forced a turnover on the ensuing possession, as Noah Gordon came up with a steal and was fouled with 2.2 seconds left.

Gordon hit the first of two free throws to clinch things for the Grizzlies.

Three Northside players hit double figures. Williams had 15 points, Anthony Travis 11 and Braylin McKinley finished with 10.