Carlisle’s Lady Bison are the top seed from the 3-2A as the Class 2A North Regional begins Wednesday at Marked Tree.
Jonathan Buffalo’s team enters on an 18-game winning streak and 26-3 overall. Carlisle will face Cotter (18-16), fourth seed from the 2-2A, at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
“Cotter is fundamentally sound, long and athletic,” Buffalo said Sunday. “There are no easy games at this point. We’re in a win-or-the-season-is-over situation.
“We’ve got to be prepared and ready to go play that basketball game.
The winner earns a berth to next week’s Class 2A State Tournament at White County Central.
The Carlisle-Cotter winner moves on to Friday’s 4 p.m. semifinal against the survivor of Thursday’s 4 p.m. game between Sloan-Hendrix, second from the 2-2A, and Brinkley, third from the 3.
The bottom half of the bracket includes Marmaduke, first from the 2, against Des Arc, fourth from the 3, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, and Earle, second from the 3, against Salem, third from the 2, at 7 p.m. Thursday.
The championship is set for 6 p.m. Saturday with semifinal losers playing in the third-place game at noon.
“It’s lining up pretty good, but we’ve got to take care of the first game,” Buffalo said Sunday. “If we don’t, everything we’ve done to this point means nothing. It’s over.”
The Lady Bison had a bye to the district semifinals, where they knocked off Des Arc, 50-33.
“We got off to a little bit of a slow start,” Buffalo said. “We were up 14-3 at the end of the first quarter, but I didn’t think we came out with enough intensity, with the game at 4 p.m. and us having beaten them as badly as we did the first time (55-31 in November).
“I don’t think we took the game as seriously as we should’ve.”
At halftime, Carlisle led, 31-17.
“I thought the game got a little too physical,” Buffalo said. “The biggest lead we had was 47-20, and then early in the fourth quarter, I decided, ‘Let’s get some other kids some playing time.’”
Kylie Warren led Carlisle with 19 points. Blakely Ellis added 10.
In the district final, Carlisle knocked off Earle, which entered 24-4
“That was a big win,” Buffalo said. “We never trailed. We got off to a real good start and did a good job being prepared and ready to play.”
Carlisle jumped out to a 7-0 lead en route to an 18-11 first quarter. The Lady Bison led at the break, 34-23; and after three quarters, 52-33.
“We scored the first bucket of the fourth, and then they went on an 11-0 run to make it 54-44,” Buffalo said. “That was as close as it got, but they turned up the pressure and we turned the ball over. I told them, ‘We’ve got to survive their run,’ and we were able to do that in the fourth quarter.”
Warren finished with 32 points and 10 rebounds. Ellis added 15 points; DeShaye Ricks recorded 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Carlisle was ranked third in Class 2A, behind Quitman and Earle, according to Sunday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. However, that didn’t include the Lady Bison’s win over Earle in Saturday’s district championship.