Monday, February 13, 2012

SPORTS >> Bears’ defense clips North Pulaski twice

Leader sports editor

Sylvan Hills made it an easy sweep of North Pulaski Tuesday night in Jacksonville. The Bears jumped out early and never let the hosting Falcons in the game en rout to a 59-29 victory. The girls game was a bit closer for a while, but the Lady Bears took control late for a 59-26 victory.

The Sylvan Hills (19-5, 10-0) boys played several defenses in the game and all were effective. The Bears gave up just 14 points in the first half and 15 in the second.

“It was one of our better defensive efforts of the season,” Sylvan Hills coach Kevin Davis said. “We just allowed our defense to adjust. We ran multiple sets adjusting to what they were doing. We really turned them over quite a bit and we were able to do that from just about every set we got in. That’s where the effort shows up. What really made the whole thing work was the effort they were giving.”

Archie Goodwin led the Bears with 22 points while post player Devin Pearson added 10. Senior Jacob Gates came off the bench for eight rebounds.

“He’s our first or second man off the bench now depending on the matchups,” Davis said. “He’s really stepping up his game and that’s what we need about now. It’s that time of year where you really have to get honed in and get ready to make that stretch run. That’s what it was good to see, that kind of effort we had in this game.”

The Lady Falcons put up a better fight against the Lady Bears than they did in Sherwood a month ago. There was still too much athleticism and defensive pressure by Sylvan Hills for North Pulaski to hold out very long.

“They’re better,” Lady Bears coach Shelley Davis said. “It looks like they’ve added a few people to the roster. They’re bigger than they were last time, a lot taller and they played better this time. The first half was a little closer than I’d like it to be, but our pressure really started getting to them.”

Sylvan Hills led 28-14 at halftime before blowing the game open with a run that stretched from the late stages of the third quarter into the first few minutes of the fourth.

“The pressure was the main thing,” Davis said. “We caused them to turn it over. We forced them to hurry and play faster than they like to. They walked a lot. And we were able to capitalize and got some layups.”

Senior guard Kashima Wright led Sylvan Hills (8-13, 6-4) with 12 points. Jamedal Byrd-Hudson added nine.

Sylvan Hills also got some production from three freshmen that Davis moved up after the Metro Conference season ended.

“I don’t know that they’re quite ready for those quality teams like the ones we’ll see in the state tournament,” Davis said. “Practicing against better competition every day will make you better. That’s my purpose in bringing them up here and hopefully that’ll be the outcome we get.” Sylvan Hills finally closed a seven-game road stretch last night at White Hall after The Leader deadlines. On Tuesday, the Bears and Lady Bears will play their first home games since Jan. 17 against Watson Chapel.