Monday, January 09, 2012

SPORTS >> Bears trudge by Monticello

Leader Sportswriter

There were dunks-a-plenty, but the 46 total combined turnovers and 21 trips to the free-throw line drug out an ugly 53-40 victory for Sylvan Hills over Monticello at the Sylvan Hills High School gymnasium on Thursday.

The Bears (9-3, 2-0) got an early boost from senior guard Archie Goodwin to help build a 9-2 lead, and withstood a Billies comeback to start the second period to pick back up on 5A-Southeast Conference play with another win after a layoff of nearly three weeks.

“Defensively, I thought we did a nice job,” Sylvan Hills coach Kevin Davis said. “I thought they were a unit defensively. I was a little concerned about the turnovers; we talked about it at half. We played a lot of guys, and sometimes when you play that many, finding chemistry can be a little difficult. I thought we found each other a little during that third quarter.”

The third quarter was by far the cleanest for the Bears, as Goodwin put his elite skills on display with seven of his game-high 26 points in the first 3:26 of the period before playing sporadically for the remainder of the game. Goodwin also pulled down five rebounds in his limited time on the court to lead the Bears along with Larry Ziegler and post player Devin Pearson, who also had five boards each.

“This is a kid that averages seven rebounds a game,” Davis said of Goodwin. “You’ve got Devin and David and Larry working in there, but if you can get a guard to come in there and get you those 7-10 boards, that’s nice.”

The Bears used nine players in the first half and 10 in the second half, and many of the personnel swaps led to turnovers initially. Sylvan Hills went most of the third quarter with just two turnovers before wholesale lineup changes eventually led to nine giveaways before the end of the game. It was their first game back from the Christmas break, but Davis was unwilling to use that as an excuse.

“Yeah, you could say it’s pretty typical, but I didn’t want it to be typical for my team,” Davis said. “I thought we would come out and play a little more solid than that. Turnovers – we’ve had a terrible problem all year, and that concerned me that we were just, I don’t think we were careless, we were just hurrying a little bit.

“It is typical, but I didn’t expect us to be that way tonight.”

Goodwin handled most of the point-guard duties while on the floor as well as leading the scoring, while Dion Patton took charge on defense. Patton had the green light to shoot from the perimeter, but finished with one point from a second-quarter free throw while making no shooting attempts in the second half.

“He’s been shooting the ball so well,” Davis said. “I moved him into the 2-slot with Archie at the 1 – kind of a floating system. But I’ve been riding Dion saying, ‘Man, you need to carry me a little bit, because you’re shooting the ball so well from the perimeter.’ You have to really be proud of what he has accomplished from a new position.”

Goodwin started the game with a dunk and drove the paint for a lay-in moments later to give the Bears and early 4-0 lead with 6:20 remaining in the opening quarter. He also ended the quarter big time with a steal and another dunk to give Sylvan Hills an 11-4 lead, with Goodwin responsible for nine of those points.

Pearson added nine points for the Bears while Jacob Gates had six and Ziegler finished with five. For Monticello (8-4, 0-1), junior guard Tony Butler led with 21 points, eight rebounds and three steals.