Saturday, November 26, 2011

SPORTS>>Sylvan Hills dominates New Albany

Leader sports editor

What was supposed to be a classic Thanksgiving Day, Rumble on the Ridge battle of big-time teams turned quickly into a one-sided rout. Sylvan Hills, with Archie Goodwin, the 13th rated recruit in the nation for the class of 2012, pasted New Albany, Miss., 76-51. And the Bears did it despite a terrible shooting night.

It was the season opener for Sylvan Hills while New Albany was playing for the sixth time this season. New Albany, which features Moses Kingsley, the 37th ranked recruit for the class of 2013, returned four starters from last year’s squad that finished 28-5 and advanced to the class 4A semifinals last year in Mississippi.

Bears’ coach Kevin Davis thinks several things might have contributed to the poor shooting performance.

“It was the first real game out for us,” Davis said. “There was no pregame. We came here late because of Thanksgiving. We wanted kids to be with family today. That’s very important for us. But I was a proud of the effort our kids gave. When the outside game isn’t going, you have to find other methods and we were able to do that.”

That other method was relentless defense which forced 30 New Albany turnovers, 21 of those were steals by the Bears. They also dominated on the boards, out-rebounding the Bulldogs 38-27. The turnovers and rebound advantage meant a huge advantage in shot attempts, which helped make for the blowout win despite shooting just 35 percent from the field.

“We were able to get them scrambling some and got in position for loose balls,” Davis said. “We got in the passing lanes and created turnovers. I was very proud of the intensity they came out with. We feel like the shooting will come around.”

Sylvan Hills threatened to run away with it right out of the gate, scoring the first eight points of the game. Things got ragged after that, and New Albany scored the next eight points to tie it.

Davis called timeout with 4:18 left in the first quarter to settle his squad down. After the timeout, the Bears put the game away.

Sylvan Hills led 17-13 at the end of the first quarter, then scored the first 12 points of the second. Goodwin, who had seven points in the first quarter, but just one field goal, scored seven of the points in the 12-0 run. Jarel Lipsey finally scored for the Bulldogs to make it 29-15, but Sylvan Hills then went on a 17-2 to go up 46-17 with 27 seconds left in the half.

Three straight possessions ended in dunks by Sylvan Hills, two by Devin Pearson, one by Goodwin. Pearson then scored three-straight baskets followed by a Goodwin three pointer. New Albany added two free throws just before the buzzer to cut the margin to 27, but the game had been decided.

Goodwin got a steal and a dunk to start the second half, and his night was over. It gave the Bears a 48-19 lead, and gave Goodwin 23 points on the night.

Davis played mostly reserves the rest of the game, but had to insert a few starters again briefly when New Albany got within 19 at 66-47. With 4:44 left in the game, the Bears had committed 12 fouls in the second half, to just one by New Albany.

After the timeout, it wasn’t a starter that sparked the Bears. David Johnson and Daylon Jones combined for 12 straight points that put the Bears back in control.

Kingsley never got on track offensively for New Albany (4-2). The 6-foot-9 teammate of Goodwin’s on the Arkansas Wings AAU team finished with 11 points. He did block five shots, including three of Goodwin’s as the Bears’ Kentucky bound 6-5 guard penetrated into the lane.

6-3 forward Daniel Drum-mond led New Albany with 16 points, all in the second half.

Pearson finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds for Sylvan Hills.

The Bears advanced in the winners’ bracket to play Lee High School of Huntsville, Ala. Lee beat Forrest City in the opening round.

Other first round games of the Rumble saw Riverside Academy of Reserve, La., beat Little Rock Hall, and Memphis Southwind survived a furious comeback by Scotlandsville, La.