Tuesday, January 10, 2012

SPORTS >> Bears lose overtime game at Lexington

Leader sports editor

Sylvan Hills got everything it wanted out of its trip to Lexington, Ky., except a victory. The Bears traveled to the town of senior Archie Goodwin’s future college home to take on the host team Lexington-Catholic in the Dunkin Donuts National Shootout.

The Bears took the 13-3 Knights to overtime on their home floor, but were outscored in the extra period 14-10 and fell 75-71 despite a 37-point performance by Goodwin.

“We certainly enjoyed it,” Sylvan Hills coach Kevin Davis said. “It would’ve been a lot more enjoyable if we’d have come out of there with a win. But it was a great experience.”

The Bears played a night game in the eight-team event, so they, along with Clarksville-Northeast of Clarksville, Tenn., got to take in the Kentucky-South Carolina basketball game that afternoon at Rupp Arena. Clarksville-Northeast features Goodwin’s future teammate at Kentucky, Alex Poythress.

Once in Catholic’s gym, the visiting team was surprised by the reception.

“It’s not often you’re the opposing team and you get cheered when they announce you,” Davis said. That was a neat experience. They definitely wanted to see their recruit and he answered the call for sure.”

The Bears played one of their better games of the season. Davis said of Lexington-Catholic, “besides probably Southwind out of Memphis, that’s the best team we’ve played this year.”

Davis’ squad dominated the stat sheet, but couldn’t overcome an extraordinary shooting night by the Knights. Catholic hit 10 three pointers, including six by Vanderbilt signee Jack Whitman, who finished with 25 points.

“We played really hard,” Davis said. “We out-rebounded them and we had a major size disadvantage. They had a 6-foot-9 and two at 6-6, and we beat them on the boards. We forced some turnovers and shot a higher percentage than they did at the free-throw line, which is something we’ve been waiting to happen.”

The Bears hit 15 of 17 foul shots, which is what Davis was used to.

“You look at our percentages this year and you’re thinking, this is not us,” Davis said. “We’re a 75-percent team and you just know that we’re not doing something right to be shooting that poorly from the line. We’ve worked hard on it. To come in here and shoot it like that is encouraging and hopefully we’ll keep that up.”

Free throws proved the difference in overtime. After four quarters, The Bears had taken 13 foul shots while the Knights had taken seven. In just the four minute overtime, the Knights’ free-throw total had tripled to 21.

“They cheered us but we were the visiting team,” Davis said. “That was a little odd for them to suddenly start getting to the line every trip, but you expect the home team to get most of the close calls in a game like that. We had some opportunities to put it away before the overtime.”

The Bears are now 10-4 overall and 2-0 in conference play. They take one more break from in-state play to travel to Springfield, Mo., this weekend to play in the 28th annual Bass Pro Shop Tournament of Champions. The Bears begin play in that tournament at 8 p.m. Thursday against Christ the King Academy of Queens, NY.