Monday, February 05, 2007

SPORTS >>Abundant Life keeping up with the leaders

IN SHORT: The Owls came away with an easy victory on Tuesday night against Brinkley, but the girls lost going away.

Leader sports writer

Abundant Life split a pair of games on the road with Brinkley on Tuesday night. The Owls routed the Tigers 51-29, but the Lady Owls let a close one slip away in the final moments of the game, losing 56-63 after tying the game with just over a minute remaining.

The boys game was hardly dramatic, although comical due to a spirited Brinkley student section. A number of students dressed up like Abundant Life sub Tristan Williford, with shirts that said, ‘T-Dub,’ which is Williford’s nickname.

The section was chanting for Williford from the outset, and went ballistic whenever Owls coach Tim Ballard put him in early in the third quarter.

“I was shocked,” Ballard said. “When I first saw them, I thought it was strange that they had a player that was also named T-Dub, but when we went to the locker room for halftime, they were all trying to give him high fives, and some of them got autographs from him after the game.”

Ballard was confused as to why Williford had a fan club at an away game, but says the sophomore’s personality seems to draw people to him.

“When Des Arc didn’t show up for our game at the Lutheran tournament, someone came out of the stands and played him one on one,” Ballard said. “They kept score on the clock and everything, and Tristan won. They picked him up and carried him around on their shoulders and all of that. It’s strange. He’s a real straight-laced kid, he’s a bible-quiz champion, and he’s real quiet.”

Although Williford did not score against Brinkley, Ballard said the youngster had the time of his life with all of the attention. “He loved it.” Ballard said.

Despite the minor distraction, the Owls took control of the game early, and by the opening minutes of the quarter, had rushed out to a commanding 41-11 lead. Colby Woolverton and John Michael Fowler both scored 11 points before exiting the game in the third. Senior post Thomas Cheney added nine points for the Owls. The win improved Abundant Life’s record to 24-7 overall and 7-5 in the 3A-2 Conference.

The girls game was tied 56 all with less than two minutes remaining, but a quick basket for the Lady Tigers, followed by a turnover from the Lady Owls gave Brinkley the win.

Sophomore Hannah Pastor led the Lady Owls with 17 points. Candace Eudy added 15 points, and Central Baptist signee Sierra Durham finished with 14 points. The Lady Owls’ record is now 15-15 overall and 2-10 in conference.

Thursday night’s games with Barton were cancelled due to the weather. Abundant Life will play at Episcopal on Tuesday.