Tuesday, January 18, 2011

SPORTS >> Bears go to head of pack this time

Leader sportswriter

Sylvan Hills was looking to avoid a repeat of last year’s conference start, and the Bears have delivered in the first two games of their 5A-Southeast schedule.

The Bears (10-3, 2-0) opened league play with a 76-44 victory over Monticello and picked up a road victory Friday by beating White Hall in an 85-58, mercy-ruled game.

Archie Goodwin was the leading scorer in both games. He had 21 points against Monticello and scored 30 against White Hall.

Goodwin was also named the Arvest Player of the Week on Monday after he averaged 38 points in the Wynne Invitational tournament over the holidays.

Goodwin’s performance against White Hall headlined a big night for most of the Bears’ starting five. Shooting guard Trey Smith scored 15 points on five three-pointers, Devin Pearson scored 14 and forward Larry Ziegler scored 11.

Dion Patton was the only starter not to hit double figures, but his 8-5, assist-to-turnover ratio is a figure coach Kevin Davis want to see the most from his junior transfer point guard.

Pearson, the 6-5 junior post player, has been dominant inside with an average 11 rebounds a game. He pulled down 17 rebounds against Monticello while scoring 19 points.

“It’s almost been textbook,” Davis said. “Your point guard is 8-5 plus on assists, your big guy pulls down 17 rebounds in a game and averages 11, your shooting guard puts up five threes, and then you’ve got Archie who’s your slasher and can do just about anything, and then you’ve got Larry, who’s starting to see double doubles almost every night.

“We’re seeing these guys mature and develop. There has been a lot of growth, and it’s something we want to try and sustain.”

The Bears showed promise early last season with a 9-0 non-conference run. But against experienced upperclassmen on conference opponents liked Little Rock McClellan, the defending league champion, North Pulaski and Monticello, the Bears fell short of reaching the postseason.

If the first two games of this year’s 5A-Southeast run are any indication, the Bears could be serious contenders for the conference title.

“I’m seeing that we’re so much better than even a month ago,” Davis said.

“They’ve matured from a standpoint that the guys are feeling so much more comfortable with the system that we run. Now they can focus more on things they can do as individuals.

“In these first two games, that’s where I’ve been pleased the most.”

The Sylvan Hills Lady Bears beat White Hall 68-61 to improve to 6-7 overall and 1-1 in the 5A-Southeast Conference. Ashley Johnson led Sylvan Hills with 23 points while Jalmedal Byrd scored 20 for the Lady Bears.