Saturday, March 03, 2012

SPORTS >> Lady Bulldogs down Beebe in quarterfinal round of state

Leader sports editor

PARAGOULD — An old adage in basketball is that everything goes a lot better when you’re making your shots. The flip side to the adage is that everything seems worse when you’re not making shots. The latter is what the Beebe ladies endured in their state tournament quarterfinal matchup with Greenwood Friday at Greene County Tech High School in Paragould.

Greenwood, on the other hand, enjoyed the good shooting that seemed to make everything easy. The Lady Bulldogs couldn’t miss and Beebe couldn’t get anything to go in. It led to a big early lead for Greenwood and eventually a 71-44 loss for Beebe.

“We missed some shots early that would’ve kept us in it,” Beebe coach Greg Richey said. “Their point guard (Williams) is special. She can knock down threes but she can find open teammates or penetrate. She makes everybody better.”

Greenwood’s London Williams hit her first five shots of the game, including three, three pointers as Greenwood built a 24-9 just seconds into the second quarter.

Meanwhile Beebe’s leading scorer Jamie Jackson, went 1 for 7 from the floor in the first quarter and 3 for 14 in the half.

The Lady Badgers cut slightly into that margin by halftime. Greenwood led 37-23 at the break, but would quickly extend that lead to 43-25 two minutes into the third quarter, prompting a timeout by Richey.

That was due largely to continued turnover problems for the Lady Badgers, as well as Greenwood’s ability to get a player open for easy shots.

“I think maybe we were a little stunned but I think it may have been some fatigue too,” Richey said of Greenwood’s open shots. “They run so many at you and we don’t have as much depth as they do.”

Greenwood had just four steals in the first half, but Beebe committed 13 turnovers.

In the second half, Lundon Williams cooled off, missing all six of her shot attempts in the third quarter. Allie Barnes picked up right where she left off, hitting three in a row, including two three pointers. Turnovers and missed layups continued to be a problem as the Lady Bulldogs pushed the lead to as much as 58-34 with 55 seconds left in the third.

The Lady Badgers continued to battle, but the Bulldogs continued to extend the lead. With 2:33 remaining, Greenwood’s Sammy Richards got an and-one to make it 67-40. Beebe cut it to 23, but it reached 27 again with two free throws with two seconds remaining.

Jackson and Lundon Williams shared leading-scorer honors, each finishing with 20 points for their respective teams. Angelina Williams added 13 for the Lady Badgers.

The Lady Badgers finish the season 22-8 and return most of its key players next season.

“It’s a young team with some talented players coming up,” Richey said. “I’m excited about our future and I’m excited that Greenwood is moving to 6A.”

In Wednesday’s first-round game against White Hall, the Lady Badgers raced out to a 12-1 lead, but saw it almost completely erased by halftime. The Lady Bulldogs cut the margin to 22-21 by intermission, but Beebe dominated the second half, winning the game 64-38.

Richey wasn’t pleased with how his squad executed after jumping out to the big lead.

“That gave me a chance to get on them at halftime and I was really pleased with how they responded,” Richey said.

“The third quarter became a layup drill for Jackson. Beebe got steal and after steal, most of which turned into easy layups for Jackson or Miller.

Once Beebe’s lead got back into double digits, Richey called off the press, but the Lady Badgers still dominated. Three consecutive possessions saw Williams take entry passes, turn and score. White Hall had no answer for whatever Beebe wanted to do.

The Lady Badgers finished with 19 steals and forced 30 White Hall turnovers.

Jackson led all scorers with 21 points. Miller finished with 16 and Williams 13 for Beebe.

That trio plus guard Alexis Miguel all finished with three steals apiece.

Patience Walker finished with 15 points to lead the Lady Bulldogs.