An improved second half performance was not enough for the Beebe Lady Badgers as Greene Co. Tech took a 55-43 victory at Badger Sports Arena on Saturday.
The 5A-East Conference games were originally slated for Friday, but with Greene County Tech schools being closed on Friday because of icy roads, the games were pushed back 24 hours.
The Lady Eagles took a 19-9 lead at the end of the first quarter and led 28-15 at halftime. The Lady Badgers’ offensive struggles subsided some in the second half, but the Lady Eagles stayed consistent and hit their free throws down the stretch.
Greene Co. Tech (12-3, 4-0) frustrated Beebe with man-to-man defense and created turnovers in the first half, while four players scored 10 or more points.
“I thought it wore them down more than it did anything,” LadyEagles coach Ted Cunningham said of his team’s defense.
“We got a few steals out of it and so forth, but it eventually kind of wore them down. One or two of their players worked pretty hard to bring it down every time.
“I thought at one time, about the end of the third quarter, it kind of took its toll on them.”
The Lady Eagles tied Paragould for first in the East.
Beebe guards Jamie Jackson and Shaylyn Young scored 16 points and 12 points respectively, but with only three other teammates chipping in points of any kind, the Lady Eagles could focus much of their defensive attention on the duo.
Beebe forced a number of shots that turned into easy inside rebounds for the Lady Eagles.
“We did a pretty good job of giving one shot,” Cunningham said.
“They did a pretty good job of pressuring after we got rebounds and not letting us get a fast break. They did some things really well; it kept us from getting away from them.”
Whitney Emison got in the mix for Beebe in the second half with a pair of three-point baskets, including one with 2:02 left in the third quarter that cut Tech’s lead to 39-25.
She hit another in the final minute before Jackson scored on a lay-in at the buzzer that set the final margin.
The Lady Eagles’ Allie Wilson went 7 for 9 at the free-throw line and scored 12 points, while Sara Lofton went 9 for 10 at the line for another 12.
Haley Shelton also scored 12 points, 10 on field goals, and Lexi Gamling added 11.
“We’ve been pretty balanced all year,” Cunningham said. “It’s been somebody different just about every night that’s the high-points scorer. That’s one of those things that we expect.”
Gamling and Shelton got the Lady Eagles out to a hefty lead in the first quarter when Gamling hit a three pointer with 2:11 left and Shelton followed with two inside shots that put Greene Co. Tech up 12-4.
Jackson put an end to the 7-0 run with a jumper inside, but Gamling came right back for Tech.
Beebe’s tougher play inside limited Greene Co. Tech in the second half, but it also increased the Lady Badgers’ foul count. The Lady Eagles made 13 of 16 free throws in the second half.