SILOAM SPRINGS -- Siloam Springs was riding high after picking up a 49-47 road win at Conway on Feb. 2. Fast forward 17 days and the Panthers are now searching for answers.
Kendarious Smith scored 21 points and the Wampus Cats played keep away a good bit of the night to hand Siloam Springs its third straight loss 48-36 at the Panther Activity Center.
Conway led 23-18 at halftime and extended its lead in the third quarter, all the while employing a crisp passing game that ran clock and forced the Panthers to chase on defense.
"You've got to give Conway credit," said Siloam Springs coach Tim Stewart. "They've got a really polished delay game. We've got a good group of kids that can do a lot of things, but chasing Conway's not our strong suit."
Siloam Springs (16-9, 7-5) pulled within 32-26 after a Kyle Snavely basket, but Clay Bradshaw scored on the other end to get the lead back to eight for the Wampus Cats (12-12, 7-5).
Conway pulled ahead 37-27 with two Smith free throws at the end of the third quarter, and he hit two more at the line in the fourth as Conway led 39-27.
Prentice Mullins had a pair of fourth-quarter buckets, and the Wampus Cats extended their lead to as many as 17 points. Conway went back to its passing game and forced the Panthers to foul. The Wampus Cats hit 7 of 10 from the free-throw line in the fourth.
"(Siloam Springs is) a physical, tough team," said Conway coach Will Johnson. "For us to be successful we had to limit their possessions."
Jamaal Clifton and Mullins each chipped in eight points for the Wampus Cats, while Junior Williams had seven.
Siloam Springs went 8 of 18 from the free-throw line and leading scorer Kyle Snavely was held to just five points while battling foul trouble.
"We need Snavely in the game to be at our best," Stewart said.
Carlson Wakefield and Noah Karp each scored six points to lead the Panthers.
Conway 74, Siloam Springs 43
Alexis Tolefree scored Conway's first 14 points and the No. 1-ranked Lady Wampus Cats (26-1, 12-0) remained unbeaten in conference play.
Tolefree finished with 23 points, including 16 of Conway's 26 points in the first quarter. The Lady Wampus Cats led 26-13 after the first quarter and 43-23 at halftime.
Conway pulled ahead 68-36 going into the fourth quarter, which was played with a running clock.
Hailey Estes hit three 3-pointers and scored 17 points for Conway, while Savannah Lowe hit two treys and added 16 points.
Haley Stewart scored 11 points to lead Siloam Springs (12-13, 5-7), while Hadlee Hollenback had nine.
The Lady Panthers host Alma on Tuesday in an important 6A game. A Siloam Springs victory over the Airedalettes would clinch a No. 2 seed in the Class 6A playoffs, while a loss could leave the Lady Panthers out of the postseason.