Tuesday, December 28, 2010

SPORTS>>Texans outman Searcy for win

By Jason King
Leader sportswriter

Searcy is still considered by many to be a program on the rise.

But it was Garland (Texas) Lakeview Centennial that rose to the occasion against the Lions in the first round of the Springdale Har-Ber tournament Monday.

Lakeview Centennial used its depth and supply of seniors to beat the Lions 82-42, sending Searcy to the consolation bracket where it faced host Har-Ber late Tuesday evening.

The Lions (9-3) gave up an early, 15-point lead before regrouping to keep pace with Lakeview until the final minute of the third quarter.

“We’ve got three games in three days, so we pulled our first five and put in our second five,” Searcy coach Jim Summers said, comparing his depth to Lakeview Centennial’s. “He doesn’t have a second five, he has 12. They kept pressing, which was good for these kids to see. Not making excuses, we just chose to live to play another day.”

Senior and Ole Miss signee Jamal Jones led the Lions with 11 points, while guard Casey Wilmath added 10. Jonathan Powell added eight points for Searcy.

Lakeview Centennial is one of Texas’ best basketball programs with a No. 18 national ranking and a roster of 12 players, 10 of them seniors.

“No disrespect to Hall, Parkview or West Memphis, but this team was in a whole different category,” Summers said as he ticked off some of the tougher 7A/6A-East opponents. “That was pressure we won’t see again, not even in our conference.”

Searcy’s 9-3 start is the best of Summers’ three-plus seasons.

“I think we’re sitting in a pretty good spot after getting a good start,” he said.

“I think we can continue to get better. You hear some teams talk about peaking too early and not getting anything out of their practices because they’re not going to get any better, but we still have plenty of things to work on.”

Summers said the Lions still need to improve their defense and shooting.

The transition from football to basketball, in the case of players like junior Dezmond Stegall, has been slower than expected.

“We have some guys who are still getting in basketball shape,” Summers said.

“That’s part of getting better shooting is not being tired. Defensively, we can get better; we’re going to have to get better with conference coming up.”

Summers is pleased to see progress in Searcy’s depth.

“We have guys on the bench beginning to fill roles,” Summers said.

“We have some sophomores stepping up and creating more depth for us. They’re beginning to understand that Casey and Jamal can’t tote the load every single ballgame.”