Tuesday, February 21, 2012

SPORTS >> Sylvan Hills’ early salvo leads to win

Leader sportswriter

Taking Mills’ best shot was not easy, but Sylvan Hills found a way to prevail for a hard-fought 75-69 victory over the Comets at the Sylvan Hills High School gymnasium on Friday.

The Comets got down by as many as 14 points early in the fourth quarter before coming back in the final minutes with a gutsy performance from guard Braylon Spicer, who led all scorers with 37 points. Mills also got a boost when Bears standout Archie Goodwin fouled out with 1:11 left to play.

Jarale Lovelace went to the free-throw line for Mills with eight seconds left to play and the Comets trailing 73-68 with a chance to make it a one-possession game, but he missed the front end before making the second shot. That made it a four-point game, and Bears point guard Deon Patton added a free throw a second later before post player Devin Pearson added one more in the final second.

“You wait, and you know somebody’s going to make a run,” Sylvan Hills coach Kevin Davis said. “Sometimes, the ebb and flow of a game dictates whether or not you will be able to withstand it. Our bench was able to come in and hold them off.”

Goodwin put up 30 points before his early exit, and battled foul trouble for most of the second half until he was whistled for a charge with 1:11 remaining and the Bears trying to hold on to a 71-58 lead at the time.

“I think sometimes we try and overcompensate and do more than we need to be doing,” Davis said. “We’re not going to be upset over that, because look at how many times he does get to the rim for us. I was a very passive foul, it was just one of the breaks of the game, I thought.”

The main battle for momentum in the second half took place between Spicer and Bears guard Trey Smith, who scored nine of his 12 points in the second half. Smith was silent until the 3:05 mark of the second quarter when he launched the first of four three-point baskets for the senior.

Three-point shooting was only a part of Spicer’s performance that included some hard drives in the lane. He was also key down the stretch for the Comets, hitting a three-point shot immediately after Goodwin’s exit to cut the lead to 71-61. He also came up with a steal and basket with 23 seconds left to play to make it 73-68.

“He’s coming in obviously with a little something to prove,” Davis said. “And we didn’t do a very good job of staying inside of him. He was able to come off some screens and get in the lane, and give him credit – he finished a lot of tough shots in there tonight.”

Smith gave the Bears a 44-30 lead at the 6:31 mark of the third quarter, and when Mills worked that lead down to 48-43 in the final minute of the period, he found his touch from long distance again to bump the lead back up to eight.

Goodwin followed that with a lay up and a free throw to end the quarter, and Smith’s final three at the 7:36 mark of the fourth quarter bumped the lead back up to 57-43.

“Trey really answered the call for us tonight,” Davis said. “When shots were going down for Trey, it gave us a cushion again. They would maybe get it under double digits, and he hits a three and it’s back over double digits. And that was tough for them to overcome.”

The Bears shot 45 percent (26 of 58) from the floor while the Comets were 18 of 55 for 33 percent. Patton added 12 points for the Bears while Pearson had 15 rebounds.

For Mills, Shyheim Barron finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Sylvan Hills hosted Crossett last night after The Leader deadlines.