Saturday, December 15, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Badgers steal control, cruise against Vilonia

Leader sportswriter

Beebe’s first quarter struggles against Vilonia became an afterthought in the next three quarters as the Badgers beat the Eagles 54-40 in a nonconference game Tuesday at Vilonia.

The Badgers struggled from the field early as they made just two field goals in the opening quarter, both by Austin Burroughs. Vilonia led 7-0 before Burroughs scored Beebe’s first points on a midrange jumper with 2:25 to play in the first. Burroughs scored again 25 seconds later on an and-one play that cut the Eagles’ lead to two.

Vilonia’s Aaron Newell helped catapult the Eagles to a 10-6 lead at the end of the first with his second three pointer of the quarter. Jake Schlenker scored Beebe’s only other point in the quarter on a free throw. It wasn’t looking good for the Badgers, but those in attendance saw an entirely different ball game in the next eight minutes.

Beebe outscored Vilonia 18-6 in the second quarter to take a 24-16 lead at halftime. Five different Badgers scored in the quarter. Schlenker led the way with eight points.

“I thought our effort was great,” said Beebe coach Ryan Marshall after the game. “This bunch plays hard night-in and night-out. But I was a little worried when we went the first five minutes without scoring. That was a little concerning there, but we did have a starter at home. Than Kersey, he’s out sick.

“So I was afraid of, you know, just timing, and things of that nature might be off a little bit. But I thought once they got settled and got in rhythm, we got a little offensive momentum and then created some turnovers, and got some easy buckets. So I thought that helped a lot.”

The Badgers were able to carry that momentum into the third quarter as they outscored Vilonia 14-8 to take a double-digit, 38-24 lead going into the fourth. Beebe made 4 of 5 free throw attempts in the third. Zach Baker drained a pair of free throws with 10 seconds to go in the quarter that gave the Badgers a 14-point lead.

Tanner Chapman and Burroughs led Beebe in the fourth with a combined 12 points. Vilonia was 4 of 5 from the three-point line in the final quarter, but couldn’t cut the 14-point deficit. Cameron Wilkins scored eight points in the fourth for Vilonia (3-5), including a three pointer with 27.4 seconds to play that set the final score.

Beebe (5-1) out-rebounded Vilonia 24-19 in the game, and had three fewer turnovers than the Eagles’ 12. Each team shot 57.1 percent from the free throw line.

The Badgers shot 80 percent from the line in the first three quarters, but were 0 for 4 in the fourth. Vilonia was the better team beyond the arc, as it made 50 percent of its shots from downtown compared to Beebe’s 22.2 percent.

“I thought we did a good job checking them off the boards,” Marshall said, complimenting his defense. “I don’t really remember them getting an offensive rebound. Burroughs and Schlenker did a good job. They knocked down some pretty good shots. And Tanner playing the point, he’s really consistent for us. I thought we did a good job of closing it out, and that’s good to see early in the year.”

Burroughs led Beebe with 19 points and eight rebounds. Chapman scored 13 points while Schlenker scored 11 and Baker scored nine. Wilkins led Vilonia with 13 points. Newell scored 11.

The Badgers played Star City yesterday in the first round of the Riverview Invitational Tournament, and will continue tournament play today against Heber Springs.