The hometown Hope Bobcats displayed another phenomenal performance on the hardwood in the Bluff Thursday night to prevail against school rivals' Magnolia Panthers 62-38 in the semifinals in the 5A South Conference Basketball Tournament hosted at Watson Chapel High School Gymnasium.

The hometown Hope Bobcats displayed another phenomenal performance on the hardwood in the Bluff Thursday night to prevail against school rivals' Magnolia Panthers 62-38 in the semifinals in the 5A South Conference Basketball Tournament hosted at Watson Chapel High School Gymnasium.

The Bobcats had balance scoring contributions along stepping up defensively to prevail over a good Magnolia Panther team to advance to tonight's championship game to face No. 1 seed Hot Springs on Friday night at Watson Chapel High School. The boys conference tourney finals will tip-off at 8 p.m. in Pine Bluff.

In semifinals action, the Cats trailed early to Magnolia 16-13 at the end of first quarter action. Hope's big man Desmond McDonald provided a first period scoring spark with nine points along completing a three-point play for the Bobcats. Markel Haynie split a pair of free-throws and Clyde Ricks drained a trifecta from behind the arc to account for Hope's scoring in the first period.

In the second, Hope's hot 3-pointer shooter T.D. Walton opened the period swishing two back to back trifecta's, that started a major scoring run for the Bobcats to take a 19-16 lead over Magnolia. McDonald and Haynie both followed with key baskets to extend Hope's lead to 23-16. Walton came back draining another 3-pointer and scoring a basket with Haynie and Brown splitting a pair of free-throws for second period action. Magnolia finished off the first half with a basket at the buzzer, but Hope led at halftime 31-18.

In the second period, the Bobcats came out aggressive to post 13 points in the third period. Haynie contributed a basket, Walton scored six points and Nick Thomas completed a three-point play with a basket for five points added to the scoreboard for Hope. At the end of three periods, the Bobcats led Magnolia 44-29.

In the final period, the Bobcats dropped 18 points and held Magnolia under double-digits with nine points scored in the fourth. Walton drained another 3-pointer to open fourth quarter action, then Haynie electrified the crowd with a monster one-handed dunk and completing a three-point play and scored two more baskets for Hope. JaBre Martin and Ricks both split a pair of free-throws and McDonald made both shots at the foul line. As the game was coming to an end in the closing seconds, Hope maintained an 60-38 lead, the Bobcats' Jaloni Davis finished off the game with basket to cap-off an impressive 24 point victory and defeating Magnolia for the second time this season.

For the game, Bobcats' Walton led scoring with 20 points and swished four trey's, Haynie finished with 16 points and McDonald followed with 13 points for a three-man double-figure scorers. Ricks scored four points, Thomas had five points, Davis scored two points, Keith Brown and Martin both chipped in one point apiece.

The Bobcats' win put them at 18-9 overall and head into next weeks Class 5A state boys basketball tournament with a high seed from the South. The Class 5A state tournament will be hosted in Magnolia at Panther Arena.