Monday, December 24, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Big run in third leads to Hillside victory

Leader sportswriter

Sylvan Hills held a four-point lead over Vilonia after two quarters of play, but a big second half for the Bears helped catapult them to a 66-48 win in Friday’s nonconference matchup at Sherwood.

The Bears trailed the majority of the first quarter, but five straight points by DeMonte Davidson off the bench put Sylvan Hills up 14-11 after one. In the second quarter, Delsin Parker scored seven points to help give the Bears a seven-point lead as the first half wound down. But a buzzer-beating three pointer by Vilonia’s Jacob Greer cut Sylvan Hills’ lead to 26-22 at the break.

Vilonia tied the score at 26-26 with a 4-0 scoring run at the start of the third, but Sylvan Hills responded with a 12-2 run to take a 38-28 lead with 3:15 to go in the quarter. The Bears kept their foot on the accelerator offensively for the remainder of the quarter, and held a 12-point lead by the start of the fourth, which was pleasing to see in the eyes of head coach Kevin Davis.

“I’m very proud of my team, because I thought from the standpoint of the overall game, the effort was really there on the white team,” said Davis, referring to the Bears’ home uniforms. “There were times we might have had a missed layup, might have had an errant pass. Things happen, but the effort was there.

“And we didn’t have to go as deep down the bench as we normally have to go, because I thought the ones that were bringing the effort were able to sustain what they were doing. You have to reward that. When the kids are playing that hard for you, you have to continue to reward that.”

Ronnie Hinton scored 16 of his team-high 19 points in the second half for Sylvan Hills. Seven of Hinton’s points came in the final eight minutes. The Bears held a double-digit lead throughout the fourth quarter, steadily increasing their lead as the game winded down.

Darius James gave the home team an 18-point lead after making the back end of a two-shot foul with 12.4 seconds remaining. James’ free throw was the final point of the game as Vilonia (4-6) failed to score on its last possession.

It was a solid win for Sylvan Hills (3-4), a team that is full of youth and inexperience. Davis hopes his team can build off of the win, and continue to get better by the time 5A Central play tips off on Jan. 4.

“We just need to keep playing,” Davis said when asked what the team could improve on moving forward. “This is a young team, and that’s another thing I’m especially proud of in addition to the effort, which is the concentration we showed in trying to execute our game plan that we do. And that is only going to take time and reps, because we’re a young team.

“So you really have to applaud them for staying with it, being focused, concentration and bringing effort all in the same night. We just need to keep playing and hopefully they’ll keep building and getting better as we go.”

The Bears edged the Eagles 28-26 on the boards, and committed seven fewer turnovers than Vilonia’s 19. Sylvan Hills shot 70.5 percent from the free-throw line, bettering Vilonia’s 57.1 percent. Neither team shot exceptional from three-point range, but the Bears made 30.7 percent of their shots beyond the arc compared to the Eagles’ 25 percent.

Other than Hinton, two other Bears finished in double figures scoring-wise. Parker finished with 11 points and Davidson scored 10. David Johnson scored nine points and also grabbed six rebounds. Vilonia’s Cameron Wilkins led all scorers with 21 points.

Sylvan Hills will travel to Mountain Home tomorrow for a tournament and will play the host team at 8:30 p.m.