AUDIO: Ark City girls basketball team closes out home schedule with wild win vs Eisenhower

Ark City girls basketball senior Ella Badley takes a shot earlier this season against Winfield in Ark City. (Photo courtesy Larry Schwartz)

The Bulldogs girls basketball team finished out the regular season home schedule in dramatic fashion Tuesday night in its 31-30 win against Goddard-Eisenhower inside The Dawg Pound of Ark City High School

Ark City senior Ella Badley hit the tying three-pointer with under 35 seconds left in regulation on senior night to make it 30-30.

After sophomore Lakyn Hale got the ball back for the Bulldogs with 20 seconds left, a Badley three-pointer for the win missed but Haylea Sampson, another Ark City sophomore, got the rebound and was fouled shooting, sending her to the line with a chance to take the lead with a second left on the clock.

Sampson made the first to put Ark City on top by a point but missed the second.

On the rebound the Bulldogs were called for a foul with a half second left and it sent Eisenhower to the free throw line at the other end of the floor to tie or win the game. The Tigers, who were 4-of-20 at the charity stripe for the night, missed both shots and Ark City hung on for the victory.

“Congratulations to Ella for what she did — that was a special play, a huge play for a senior like that on her home floor, her last home game,” Ark City Girls Basketball Coach Tyler Henderson said after the win. “I’m so proud of her and I’m so happy for her. That’s a special memory she’ll always have with her. It’s a big-time shot. Pressure situation. The moment is definitely in (Eisenhower’s) favor.

“Just a big play from a special kid — a great kid who really works her tail off. We really love Ella.”

Junior Saliyah Henderson-Johnson found Badley for the game-tying three and led Ark City in scoring with a game-high 17 points, another assist, a block and three steals. Fellow junior Savannah Phillips led the night in rebounding with a game-high 12 boards and chipped in four points.

Kierslynn Waggoner, another junior, added a trey for Ark City while Badley totaled six points — both 3s.

The Bulldogs didn’t have many trips to the free throw line — just four — and it was Sampson that made the night’s biggest and only make at the stripe for Ark City.

“The pressure was on with those free throws,” Henderson said. “Sophomore, first year playing varsity basketball this year and she knocks down that first free throw. Just a great testament to what kind of kid she is and the character she has and the competitor she is.”

The win was the Bulldogs’ seventh of the season — the most wins in a season for the program since the 2017-18 campaign that saw Ark City finish 8-14.

The Bulldogs can match that win total on the road Thursday night with the regular season finale at Goddard High. The 8-14 year was also the last time Ark City went to substate and the Bulldogs will finally snap that drought this year.

The last time the Ark City girls program won more than 10 games was 17 years ago when the Bulldogs finished 11-11 in the 2006-07 season.

Since then, the program had averaged just three wins per season with two winless years and two one-win seasons before this year.

In January, the Bulldogs won its first Mulvane Wildcat Classic tournament in school history.

Boys fall in second half, Jennings puts up 24

The Ark City boys basketball team trailed by five at halftime and it was a 3-pointer shootout in the first half between Bulldogs freshman Kamari Jennings and Eisenhower’s Pierce Blue, but the Tigers smashed the gas pedal in the second half and the shots stopped falling for Ark City the rest of the way.

Eisenhower defeated Ark City 60-34.

Jennings led all scorers with 24 points and a game-high seven drained 3s — a majority of which were made in the first half.

The Bulldogs (5-14) were without 6’4” sophomore Jordy Pierce, who missed his second game due to injury.

Both the Tigers (8-11) and Ark City will make substate.

Seeding for substate for both the Ark City girls and boys teams will be known following Thursday night’s regular season finales at Goddard High.