For another big scoring night in ninth grade girls basketball action Monday night at Jones Field House Gymnasium, Hope's Mariuna McClenton posted a career-high 29 points to lead Hope in victory over De Queen Jr. Lady Leopards 38-36 in a close affair on the hardwood for junior high hoops.

For another big scoring night in ninth grade girls basketball action Monday night at Jones Field House Gymnasium, Hope's Mariuna McClenton posted a career-high 29 points to lead Hope in victory over De Queen Jr. Lady Leopards 38-36 in a close affair on the hardwood for junior high hoops.

McClenton clinch two key free-throws in the closing seconds under pressure to secure Hope the win after a 36-36 tie at 5.4 seconds to play in the game. McClenton got a steal in the open court with eight seconds to regain possession for Hope, where De Queen committed a foul to send McClenton to the foul line to make both free-throws giving them the two point lead. De Queen had the final possession but wasn't able to score and Hope went on to be victorious.

In first quarter play, Hope and De Queen both matched each other to end opening period play tied 6-6. McClenton scored all Hope's first quarter points. In the second, De Queen outscored Hope 10-6. McClenton had two baskets from the field and Emily Miller scored a key basket in the closing seconds to cut Hope's deficit to keep Hope within striking distance to trail the Jr. Lady Leopards 16-12 at halftime.

In the second half, Hope and De Queen remained competitive going back and forth of trading baskets. At the end of the third quarter, Hope had a one point deficit to trail De Queen 23-22. In the fourth, there were five lead changes between the two clubs and tied three times. Hope outscored De Queen 16-13 in the period with McClenton posting 12 points, Miller and Anntaevia Briggs each accounting for baskets apiece in the finale quarter. Nia'kerra Magee with McClenton both had two key crucial steals under a minute for Hope that helped them prevail for victory.

For the game, Hope's Miller contributed six points and Briggs finished with three points.

This Thursday night, Hope ninth grade girls return to the hardwood for their final home contest to finish the regular season schedule hosting Hot Springs Jr. Lady Trojans before entering into the jr. high district tournament on Saturday hosted in De Queen.