Tuesday, January 03, 2012

SPORTS >> Lady Badgers defeat Sacred Heart for third

Leader sportswriter

It was all about Angelina Williams for Beebe in the Lady Badgers’ 50-30 victory over Sacred Heart in the third-place game of the Beebe Holiday Classic basketball tournament at Badger Sports Arena on Friday.

Williams, Beebe’s sophomore sensation post player who is listed between 6-3 and 6-4, upped her college profile once again with a game-high 25 points and 10 rebounds while enjoying a tremendous size advantage over the Lady Rebels (17-4).

Teammates were happy to take a back seat offensively to Williams, who grabbed lob after lob for high-percentage shots on the low block against a Sacred Heart defense unable to stop her.

“We did a good job today,” Beebe coach Greg Richey said. “We came out, both teams were not playing with much intensity. But I thought it picked up, and our big girl just had an outstanding game. Of course, she had them outsized, but I liked it that our guards took advantage of it. Instead of shooting the ball, they wanted to make sure they got it in there to her.

“That was a big game for Angelina, and for the rest of the team.”

Williams established her dominance early with a putback off a miss by classmate Kalela Miller to make it 4-0 Beebe before taking an assist from junior guard Jamie Jackson for another easy basket to give the Lady Badgers a 6-0 lead at the 4:58 mark of the first quarter.

Jackson was not at full speed after a tough game against England in the semifinals the night before and finished with six points and four assists. Miller added 14 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals.

But it was defense that carried the day for the Lady Badgers, as they denied Sacred Heart from scoring a field goal in the first quarter and led 11-4 heading into the second. Jackson led an 8-0 run for Beebe to start the second quarter before Crystal Wilson finally scored from the floor for the Lady Rebels with 1:10 remaining in the first half.

“Sacred Heart’s a good team – they’ve played a good tournament,” Richie said. “They just didn’t shoot very well today. It’s surprising that we were able to have the kind of night that we did, but the big girl affected a lot of the shots.”

Miller scored the first four points for Beebe in the second half with a pair of fast-break scores before Williams made it 33-14 on a bank shot off the glass at the 5:07 mark of the third quarter. Jackson then scored off a steal and Williams made a put back to give the Lady Badgers a 37-16 lead with 2:20 remaining in the third.

Beebe further put the odds in its favor inside with Williams and reserve post Miranda Spriggs on the floor at the same time in the second half. Richie normally uses Spriggs, a senior, in place of Williams in defensive situations, but the two shared the court to further hamper the Lady Rebels, who shot just 7 of 47 for the game while Beebe went 21 of 47.

Junior reserve Annlee Glass also saw significant minutes and scored her first varsity points with a 15-foot jumper at the third-quarter buzzer to give the Lady Badgers a 43-19 lead.

The Lady Badgers went 5-1 through the holidays, winning the Greenbrier tournament and finishing third in their own tournament to up their season record to 9-3.

“If somebody would have told me that, I would have turned cartwheels,” Richie said of his team’s performance during the Christmas break. “We’ve had a good two weeks.”

The Lady Badgers begin 5A-East Conference play at home against Blytheville on Friday.