It's was an intense environment for the hometown Hope ninth grade girls basketball team in their semifinals match-up against higher-seed Hot Springs Lakeside Jr. Lady Rams on Monday night in the 5A South Jr. High District Tournament hosted at Jones Field House Gymnasium.

It's was an intense environment for the hometown Hope ninth grade girls basketball team in their semifinals match-up against higher-seed Hot Springs Lakeside Jr. Lady Rams on Monday night in the 5A South Jr. High District Tournament hosted at Jones Field House Gymnasium.

The Jr. Rams have taken victory over Hope in their first two meetings, but the third time showcased a classic duel to the end for junior high girls hoops. Hope was the aggressor throughout their contest on both ends of the court against Lakeside. With hard fought effort, Hope would come up short of victory for a productive season to that came to an end to the Jr. Lady Rams prevailing 36-29.

Hope was led by another 20 plus point scoring performance from team dynamic leading scorer Lanay Wheaton dropping an impressive 25 points. This was back to back 20 plus point scoring games for Wheaton as she dropped 23 points against Camden in first round district tournament action for Hope's win to advance to the semifinals.

Hope and Lakeside were tied 8-8 after first period play in semifinals action. Wheaton and post player Sarah Willis contributed baskets for Hope in opening quarter play. In the second, Lakeside added six points with Hope held to two points that led to a 14-8 deficit for Hope at halftime to the Jr. Lady Rams.

In the third period, both teams posted double-digit scoring with Hope winning the scoring battle over Lakeside 13-10. After three periods of action, Hope cut their deficit to trail Lakeside 24-23.

In the fourth, Hope fought the the end but Lakeside edged the hometown team 9-6 in scoring with the Jr. Lady Rams victorious in their third encounter against Hope.

For the game, behind Wheaton's 25 points for the only player in double-figures, Ra'Nayzia Miller and Willis each scored two points apiece.

Hope ninth grade girls basketball team finish the season 14-7 overall under first year head coach Austin May with assistance from Sr. high girls head coach Susan Powers.