Tuesday, December 27, 2011

SPORTS >> Badgers rout Lions at ‘Brier’

Leader sportswriter

Things finally came together for Beebe on the last day of the Battle at the Brier invitational basketball tournament at Greenbrier High School as the Badgers routed Searcy 61-29 in the fifth-place game on Friday.

Panther Pavilion was nearly empty for the 11:30 a.m. game, but the Badgers (8-2) kept themselves motivated against a Lions team unable to keep pace in the early going. Beebe rushed out to a quick 12-2 lead and had complete control at the end of the first quarter with an 18-3 advantage.

Senior post player Dayton Scott led the Badgerswith 12 points while junior forward Austin Burroughs added 11 and sophomore guard Tanner Chapman had points.

Scott also led with eight rebounds, and dominated inside despite the presence of 6-5 senior Searcy post Jonathan Powell.

“I thought our focus was much better, particularly for an a.m. game,” Beebe coach Ryan Marshall said. “I thought our kids came together and played a nice ballgame. We hit the open guy and made the extra pass.

“We got a lot of easy looks early, and defensively, I thought we did extremely well. We got lost a few times, but I thought we guarded real well and did some things that we’ve been working on.”

Beebe’s advantage in the turnover department in the first half was slim at 6-5, but the Badgers made the most of their gifts early on while Searcy took a number of shots that simply were not there.

“I thought they may have been a little rushed offensively,” Marshall said. “Any time you do that, the other team gets a little uncomfortable, and maybe they will rush some shots. I thought we had good ball pressure; it made it tough for them to feed their big guy inside. Just overall, it was probably one of our best defensive efforts from a team standpoint.”

Scoring wise, senior point guard Brandon Fuller had just two points off a jumper in the lane in the first three minutes of the game, but it was his direction of the offensive flow that created multiple opportunities for the Badgers to orchestrate a quick-strike style of attack.

“He’s starting to figure that out,” Marshall said. “He talked to me after the Mills game, and that’s one thing he realized is that it doesn’t matter what’s going on, he’s got to be the energy guy and the leader on the floor. He does a number of things that won’t show up in the scorebook, but he does a good job.”

Burroughs and Scott got Beebe out to a double-digit lead in no time as Burroughs took an assist from Fuller for a jumper that gave the Badgers an 8-2 lead with 4:23 left to play in the first quarter, and Scott got a steal he took all the way to make it 10-2.

Burroughs got the steal and conversion on Searcy’s next trip down the court, and Scott then scored on a put-back to put the Badgers up 14-2 at the 2:08 mark. Beebe also held the Lions without a single rebound until the 1:32 mark of the first quarter.

Beebe set itself up to go with a continuous clock in the fourth quarter when junior guard Jake Schlenker drove in the paint for a score with 38 seconds remaining in the third period to put the Badgers up 48-17.

The victory wrapped up a three-day tournament full of ups and downs for the Badgers after losing to Mills 53-35 in the first round and struggling to beat Sheridan 48-42 in the second round.

“The first day was just absolutely horrible to be honest,” Marshall said. “Mills played extremely hard – a lot of intensity, and we didn’t meet it. We hit that panic mode. We had guys who didn’t want the basketball because they were smothered. One team was ready to play, one wasn’t.

“I thought yesterday, we got some kinks worked out, and then today, I thought it came together pretty good for them.”

Beebe opens its own Christmas Classic basketball tournament at Badger Sports Arena today in the final first-round game against Des Arc at 8:30 p.m.