Friday, January 13, 2012

SPORTS >> Lady Bears use press to get first league win

Leader sportswriter

Sylvan Hills pressed its way to a decisive 55-18 victory over Helena West-Helena Central at home on Tuesday to capture its first 5A-Southeast Conference triumph of the season.

The Lady Bears (3-9, 1-2) forced 20 turnovers by the Lady Cougars in the first half and 34 for the game, as senior guard Kashima Wright broke loose for a season-high 19 points, most of which came on easy transition baskets.

“The press was effective,” Lady Bears coach Shelly Davis said. “They didn’t have many ball handlers, so the press worked with them weaker in the guard division. Tonight, we put away all the stats. I have no idea who did what as far as assists or anything other than our rebounds.

“That’s cost us several games, because we’re not blocking out, not rebounding, so we just tried to emphasize one at a time tonight. We have to concentrate maybe in one area instead of the whole ball game.”

The Lady Cougars struggled immensely against the full-court defense of Sylvan Hills. Wright and Junior Val Jarrett led the assault, as Wright took it away from HWHC seven times and converted most of those while Jarrett had six steals, many of which led to more points for Wright. Sophomore forward Kali Milton and classmate K.K. Fulton each had two picks, as the Lady Bears rushed out to a 10-3 lead at the end of the first quarter and put the game away in the second quarter boasting an insurmountable 27-6 lead.

“They’re playing very unselfish,” Davis said. “We looked down the floor, and Kashima is one of the first down the floor. She can handle the ball, and we made our lay ups tonight. The girls have been wanting to win and playing hard enough to win, but they were wanting it bad tonight, and played very well.”

Junior Jalmedal Byrd-Hudson made it 12-3 to start the second quarter with a putback at the 7:29 mark before junior Naomi Gregory hit a three-point basket to increase the margin to 15-3 with 6:29 left to play in the first half. Wright then followed with a three pointer and converted a steal with a lay up to give the Lady Bears a 20-4 lead with 5:21 remaining in the first half.

Wright’s next transition score was set up by a steal and dish from Gregory, and Milton followed with a 15-foot jumper to make it 25-6. The Lady Cougars went on a brief 6-0 run before junior Michaela Pinegar closed out the half for Sylvan Hills by hitting both ends of a two-shot foul to set the halftime margin.

It was much of the same in the second half as the Lady Bears started the third quarter with an 8-0 run, and two straight lay ups by Wright midway through the period gave Sylvan Hills the necessary margin to enjoy a continuous clock for the final eight minutes.

“That’s what you play all season for is right now,” Davis said. “And the games we need to win, we have to win. We’re probably going to be that team that’s iffy. If we keep improving and doing little things better, then we should be one of the top teams.”

Gregory added 15 points for Sylvan Hills while Byrd-Hudson finished with six points and a game high nine rebounds, along with three steals. Jarrett also had six points for the Lady Bears.

For the Lady Cougars, Chaterian Dillard and Delana Bedford each had four points to lead the way.