Wednesday, November 23, 2011

SPORTS >> Beebe takes easy sweep of Rams

Leader sportswriter

Hot Springs Lakeside was able to answer Beebe’s first-half scoring run, but ran into a stifling Badgers defense in the second half that allowed only six points by the visiting team. Beebe rolled to a 65-26 mercy-rule victory in its season opener at Badger Sports Arena on Monday.

The Badgers had key offensive performances from different players at different times, most notably seniors Braden Jones and Zach May, who propelled Beebe to big leads in the first and second halves respectively.

But it was the strong defensive play, with the added help of rushed shots by Lakeside, which helped the Badgers to a dominant second-half showing.

“We challenged them at the half a little bit,” Beebe coach Ryan Marshall said. “And the goal was to keep them to 10 in a quarter. So, we felt good with that, we just turned the ball over in the middle of the first quarter there. And they were a scrappy bunch early; they kept hanging around.”

May was scoreless through the first half, but came alive at the 5:31 mark of the second quarter with an inside basket that gave the Badgers a 31-20 lead. He then hit three straight unanswered three-point baskets, and grabbed a defensive rebound he took the length of the floor to the basket and drew a foul. He hit both ends to cap off his game-high 13 points in a matter of 2:57.

“I’m hoping that’s the way we’re going to be night-in, night-out,” Marshall said. “I feel like we’ve got anywhere from six to eight guys who are going to lead us in scoring on any given night.

“Braden did a good job of finishing and establishing early, and May, we told him at half that he would get going, and boy, he just busted it wide open there. And you have to give credit to his teammates for getting him the ball.”

Jones was the early spark plug for Beebe with six of his total seven points in just over a minute mid-way through the first quarter. Jones scored inside and drew a foul with 4:09 remaining in the first half. He converted the foul shot and took an assist from Dayton Scott on Beebe’s next drive to give the Badgers a 12-3 lead. His next basket at the 3:07 mark upped the advantage to 14-3 and forced the Rams to take a timeout and regroup.

Scott finished with 12 points and seven rebounds for Beebe, and put his athleticism on display with a number of high leaps for rebounds as well as the most crowd-pleasing moment of the night, when he jumped from outside the left side of the lane for a dunk to give the Badgers a 44-22 lead with 2:01 left to play in the third quarter.

Lakeside battled back from the early deficit and got to within 22-20 when Mickey Jones laid it in off the glass with 2:48 remaining in the first half. Beebe responded with a basket by Scott and two free throws from Austin Burroughs. Scott tacked on two more free throws, but his big jam at the first-half buzzer was waved off by the officials to keep Beebe’s halftime lead at 28-20.

“We’re still a work in progress,” Marshall said. “There’s a lot of things we need to get better. But it was the first ballgame – I was a little worried about how anxious they would be because they have a lot of momentum carried over from last year, and they were ready to get out and get a new year started.”

Burroughs finished with 11 points, five rebounds and two steals for Beebe. For Lakeside, Chris Airigs led the way with 10 points.

The Lady Badgers were also victorious against the Lady Rams 49-30 in the first varsity game of the night to improve their season record to 2-2. Senior guard Jamie Jackson led the way with 18 points and went 8 for 8 from the free-throw line. Kalela Miller also had a strong night from the foul line, going 6 of 7 for just over half of her 12 total points. Angelina Williams added eight points for Beebe. Keri Manning led Lakeside with 11 points while Sarah Hamilton had 10 points.

The Badgers and Lady Badgers will play next Tuesday at Sylvan Hills.