Archie Goodwin’s 42-foot basket from half court at the first-quarter buzzer was a strong indicator that it was going to be a good night for the Sylvan Hills senior guard as he poured in 33 points to lead the Bears in a runaway 88-53 victory over Helena-West Helena Central at the Sylvan Hills High School gymnasium on Tuesday night.
Goodwin also dominated the boards with 13 rebounds and had five steals, all but one of which led to a patented show-stopping dunk for the University of Kentucky signee, as the Bears improved their season record to 10-3 and stayed unbeaten in 5A-Southeast Conference play at 3-0.
Sylvan Hills went 44 percent from the field (35 for 79), as Goodwin shook off his recent shooting woes by going 4 for 7 from three-point range in the first half. The Cougars (4-5, 0-2) had fewer opportunities due largely to a stifling Bears’ defensive attack that gave up just 19 buckets in 41 attempts for 46 percent from the floor for the entire game.
“We’ve had a tough schedule,” Bears coach Kevin Davis said. “And we’ve been right there and played well in a lot of big ballgames. So we really challenged our guys to bring something to the position they’re playing, and that’s why I was so proud of them, because everyone who came into the ballgame had positive moments and made things happen from their position.
“You really saw a collaborative effort tonight all the way up and down that lineup.”
Goodwin’s strong night was backed up by a number of good supporting performances, most notably senior point guard Deon Patten, who added 16 points and three first-half steals. Senior transfer Daylon Jones had nine points and added a few highlight-reel moves of his own in the paint against a HWHC defense which seemed completely overwhelmed at times.
“I think more than anything tonight, you have to say they didn’t let their foot off the accelerator,” Davis said. “The depth that came off the bench was adding to the pressure, and that’s what I was hoping we would see from this team earlier in the year. I knew it was going to take a while to get them going, but I felt like they could really contribute.”
The Bears have been successful early this season, but have not shown the domination many expected to see from the defending 5A state runner-up until now. Goodwin’s performance on Tuesday was one of his best this year for one of the nation’s top college prospects.
“Archie’s a teammate,” Davis said. “And he can elevate his game just as well as the 11th guy down there on the bench. I was not worried about the offensive end tonight, I really wasn’t. I called that timeout because we missed some early shots, and they were ugly, and I told them that’s okay, but there was going to be no excuses down there on the defensive end.”
Goodwin did not score until the 3:40 mark of the first quarter when he hit the front end of a two-shot foul, but he quickly made up for lost time with a three-pointer, three dunks and his buzzer-beater from midcourt for 13 points heading into the second quarter.
“This is one of the best games we’ve had this year,” Goodwin said. “We’ve been struggling a little bit early on. We’ve still been getting wins, but we haven’t been playing basketball like we did last year. It feels like we’re getting back into the groove of things now.”
Juwan Williams scored for the Cougars to make it 21-13 with 1.6 seconds left on the clock in the first quarter, but Goodwin got the last word when he ran down the left side and launched just as he crossed midcourt. His rush to get the shot off before the buzzer caused him to stumble, but as Goodwin went down, the shot went through.
“It felt good when I let it go,” Goodwin said. “It’s one of those things that I actually practice with my uncle when we go to the court. After my workout, I’ll take some half-court shots just in case something like that happens, and I swished it.”
The only thing that stood in the way of a near-perfect night for Goodwin was a 3-of-9 performance at the foul line.
“That was just one of those games,” Goodwin said. “Good shooting night, just a bad free-throw night. It happens to the best of them, so I’m not too much worried about it. I feel like when it’s crunch time, I can knock them down.”
Plenty of Bears saw ample playing time, including Kaylon Tappin and David Johnson, as well as soccer standout Jeremiah Persson, who set the final margin with a lay-in in the final 30 seconds to the delight of the home crowd.
Tappin finished with six points for the Bears while Anthony Lewis led Helena-West Helena Central with 14 points. Williams added 12 points and Ade Jones had 10 points for the Cougars.