Tuesday, January 03, 2012

SPORTS >> Beebe falls to young Bruins

Leader sportswriter

Pulaski Academy took the championship but also took its lumps during a 50-41 victory over host Beebe in the final round of the Beebe Holiday Classic basketball tournament at Badger Sports Arena on Friday.

Senior and Texas Tech signee Dusty Hannahs got the Bruins (7-0) off to a fast start in the first half before falling victim to the physical defensive play of Beebe senior guard Brandon Fuller, who went up to prevent a dunk by Hannahs at the 6:04 mark of the second quarter.

Hannahs came down under the goal hard and was sent to Little Rock for X-rays that determined injuries to his wrist and pelvis, which will keep him off the court for at least a month. The Bruins also suffered another setback when starting post player Hunter Henry was ejected from the game with 3:18 left to play in the third quarter for responding to a foul by Badger Zack Baker with what appeared to be a haymaker-type swing in the direction of Henry.

Bruins coach Roger Franks protested the ruling and was in danger of getting a technical of his own with the Bruins up 32-24. Hannahs made a brief appearance back on the court to shoot free throws in place of Henry. He hit both ends, but was in obvious pain as he was again assisted back to the PA bench.

“Beebe is really a good basketball team, and we knew we would have to play well to have a chance,” Franks said. “I’m really proud of the way our kids competed. To lose Dusty, and then to lose Hunter, I thought our young guys really stepped up.”

With Hannahs and Henry absent, the Badgers (8-3) tried to move inside offensively, but Bruin underclassmen Jeremy Brady and Tyler Colquett held their ground against the experienced Badgers, holding senior forward Dayton Scott and guard Zach May to eight and nine points respectively.

Junior forward Austin Burroughs had some nice shots in the lane, as well as a pair of three pointers for a game-high 13 points, but the high-percentage looks the Badgers wanted inside were simply not there.

“I thought they did a good job of doing that,” Franks said. “Our posts were undersized when Hunter left, and we didn’t do a very good job of getting around and we wanted to front that. But you have to give them credit for sealing and not letting us get around.”

Though diplomatic following the game, Franks did not exactly agree with Henry’s disqualification.

“I really can’t say anything about the situation with Hunter, because what I saw and what they saw were two different things,” Franks said. “But the film should show, and, I mean, the game was well officiated. I know they did what they believed was right, and I just didn’t see it. I can’t really say anything else until I look at it.”

Both teams struggled from the floor overall, as PA went 15 of 41 for 37 percent. The Bruins were just under 50 percent for the first half at 11 of 26 before losing Hannahs for the entire second half and Henry for most of it, going just 4 of 15 for the second half.

Beebe was 8 of 17 for the first half and 6 of 23 in the second half to finish 14 of 40 for 35 percent.

The biggest difference seemed to be outside shooting in the first half, in which the Bruins went 4 for 7 behind the three-point line while Beebe was 2 of 3 in the first quarter with no attempts in the second quarter.

“Offensively, we just didn’t make shots in the first half, and they did,” Beebe coach Ryan Marshall said. “That’s the difference in the game, really, we just couldn’t get going. They’re a good ball club – you get down 10 or 11, you’re going to get beat.”

The Bruins made their run that ultimately established the margin for the remainder in the middle of the second quarter with a three-point basket by Brandon Brady to give PA a 20-16 with 4:35 remaining in the half. Marcus Wallace added an inside basket before Hannahs hit a pull-up in the lane to make it 24-16 with 2:15 left to play in the second quarter.

Hannahs led the Bruins with 13 points before his early exit while Henry added nine points and eight rebounds.

Marshall acknowledged the spirited play throughout in a game played to a packed house heavily in the Badgers’ favor, but also commended his players for keeping their cool during some of the more tense moments.

“It was physical,” Marshall said. “The move Fuller made on Hannahs, that was a good foul – he tried to dunk, and he went for the ball, and instead took a tough spill. And then (Henry), you know, he throws a punch because he gets a hard foul, so our kids did a good job of being mature and not showing emotion. But unfortunately, that doesn’t always mean you’re going to be on top.”

Beebe begins 5A-East Conference play with a home game against Blytheville on Friday.