Saturday, March 03, 2012

SPORTS >> Bears hit boards against Nettleton

Leader sports editor

PARAGOULD — Sylvan Hills got off on a bit of a slow start, and never could totally get rid of the pesky bunch of Raiders from Nettleton in the first round of the class 5A state tournament. Poor shooting was the Bears’ main problem, but defensive aggression and tenacious rebounding made up for the off night of shooting as Sylvan Hills advanced with a 60-43 victory Wednesday at Greene County Tech High School in Paragould.

The Bears made just nine of 30 shot attempts in the first half, but held Nettleton to just five of 25. Sylvan Hills led 11-5 at the end of the first quarter. Nettleton’s John Nickle scored just seconds into the second quarter. Nettleton then had two trips to the free-throw line to cut further into the lead, but on each trip, missed the front end of one-and-one attempts. Those missed opportunities proved huge as Sylvan Hills guard Archie Goodwin scored the game’s next four points in rapid succession. He penetrated the lane for a driving floater, then stole the ball at midcourt and finished the transition with a massive dunk that forced the Raiders to call timeout with 4:39 left in the first half.

Sylvan Hills extended the lead to 24-13 by halftime. Goodwin alone had outscored the Raiders by one point in the half.

It was a physical game and one in which Goodwin, who is a natural slasher and used to getting into the lane and to the free-throw line, went to the line just twice the entire game, hitting one of three free-throw attempts.

Goodwin got all 10 of his second half points in the first two, and last two minutes. He hit a baseline fade-away with 6:17 left in the third, and didn’t score again until 1:53 remained in the game.

His bucket in the third made it 31-17. Junior Daylon Jones picked up the scoring duties late in the third. Jones scored six straight from 2:55 to 1:37 left in the third to push Sylvan Hills lead to 45-27.

The two teams traded baskets several times early in the fourth before Nettleton went on a 9-0 run that made it 49-40 with 3:02 left in the game.

Sylvan Hills point guard Dion Patton took it to the basket after a Bears timeout. He hit a floater in the lane and was fouled. The free-throw made it 52-40 with 2:39 left. Goodwin then scored the next five straight, starting with a baseline jumper, then completing a three-point play after getting fouled putting back an offensive rebound. The run made it 57-40 with 1:34 remaining and effectively secured the Bears’ advance to the quarter-final round.

Goodwin finished with 24 points and nine rebounds while senior forward Larry Ziegler finished with 14. Post player Devin Pearson finished with 11 rebounds. Nettleton’s E.J. Whitaker led the Raiders with 20 points.

Sylvan Hills improved the 23-5 and advanced to play Morrilton in the quarterfinal round. The Bears played the Devil Dogs at 10:30 p.m. Friday, after The Leader deadlines.