Friday, February 25, 2011

SPORTS >> Beebe’s home streak ends

Leader sportswriter

Beebe’s perfect conference home record fell by the wayside as the Wynne Yellowjackets pulled off a stunning, 53-50 upset and spoiled Tuesday’s senior night at Badger Sports Arena.

The Badgers scrambled for a three-point shot in the closing seconds. Senior Zach May went for the tying basket with four seconds left, but the ball slipped from his hands and Wynne defender Devante Riley came down with it.

Shooting guard Keenan Halk led the Yellowjackets (10-14, 5-7 5A-East) with 16 points, and helped his team start strong with 13 first-half points in one of the team’s best performances of the year.

“We kind of had our backs against the wall,” Wynne coach Jeremy Mangrum said. “Tonight we came out, and other than a letdown in the third quarter, we played as well as we’ve played all year. I know they haven’t lost a conference game here — I don’t know that they’ve lost here all year.

“It’s a tough place to play; great crowd, hostile environment, and our guys were just tough enough to get the job done.”

The Badgers (20-5, 10-3) struggled inside against the ’Jackets, who packed the lane with big bodies to deny dribble penetration and passes to the post most of the night.

“That’s something that we preach every day,” Mangrum said noting the presence of Beebe’s Devonte Young. “Talking about help side, and being in help position. Communicate, and play team defense. We did a pretty good job of that, trying to contain a great player with Young.”

Young, Beebe’s senior guard and team captain, paced the Badgers with 21 points, including a pair of three-pointers in the final 1:21, but the Yellowjackets answered with solid free-throw shooting down the stretch.

The Badgers led 42-40 when Yellowjackets post player Joe Stampley broke free for six straight inside points. His first basket tied the game with 3:59 left, and he came back with a pair of floaters in the lane that put Wynne up for good.

Riley increased the lead to 48-42 on two free throws with 1:34 left.

Young hit his first three-pointer with 1:21 left, but Riley followed with two more free throws.

Young’s second three-pointer, a 30-footer with 1:07 remaining, closed the gap to 50-48, and Wynne finally faltered at the free-throw line when Calene Scott missed the first of a one-and-one opportunity.

May pulled down the rebound for Beebe, but Brandon Fuller missed his potential tying shot on a jumper just outside the lane with 20 seconds left.

May was unable to chase down the rebound this time, and Wynne took the ball out of bounds.

Young had one more chance at a three-pointer with 10 seconds left but the shot fell short. Scott rebounded, drew a foul and made both free throws.

Beebe quickly fouled Halk, who made the first free throw but missed the second. Fuller rebounded and Beebe took a timeout to set up its final, unsuccessful play.

May’s outside shooting touch pulled Beebe out of an early 11-6 deficit.

He checked in as he normally does, midway through the first quarter, for senior Cole Vanaman, making his first start as a senior night honor.

May hit his first of three, three-pointers with 2:19 left in the period to make it 11-8, and he followed a basket by Wynne’s Tony Jones with another three-pointer, this one from the top of the key to cut the lead to 13-11.

He hit one more three-pointer with 37 seconds left to give Beebe a 14-13 lead, but Halk got the last word for Wynne when he beat the buzzer with a steal and went all the way for a lay-up.

Wynne seized the upper hand again in the second quarter with an 8-2 run to close out the period for a 31-21 halftime lead.

Young scored a game-high 21 points and had five rebounds in his final home game. May finished with nine points for Beebe, while Scott scored eight points with seven rebounds, two blocks and two steals.

Riley led Wynne with 12 points along with five rebounds while Stampley added 10 points and five rebounds.

The Lady Yellowjackets beat the Lady Badgers 42-36. Beebe finished fifth in the 5A-East Conference standings.