Monday, December 24, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Badgers fall to LRCA

Leader sportswriter

Scoring was too concentrated for Beebe as visiting Little Rock Christian took a 59-53 victory over the Lady Badgers at Badger Sports Arena on Friday.

Senior guard Jamie Jackson led Beebe with 30 points while junior guard Kalela Miller added 23 points to make up all of the Lady Badgers’ points. The Lady Warriors also had two players finish in double figures with 22 points for Annalea Rhodas and 13 points for Alexus Thomas, but it was points off the bench for LRCA that made the difference.

“We just kept shooting ourselves in the foot,” Lady Badgers coach Greg Richey said. “We had opportunities. First half, we didn’t play very good, got ourselves down by nine at halftime. We should have been better than that. We came out and let them shove us around, outrebound us, and we just didn’t play. We were digging ourselves out of a hole the rest of the way.

“We didn’t step up and make shots when we needed to, and we didn’t defend when we needed to defend.”

Christian outscored Beebe 14-8 in the second quarter and took a 30-21 lead at the half. The Lady Badgers (6-5) showed signs of making things close again early in the third quarter with a 6-0 run to begin the second half. That made it 30-27, but the Lady Warriors did not let the margin get any closer until Miller tied the game at 42 with a three-point basket at the 1:09 mark.

Rebounding was another big factor as the Lady Warriors controlled the boards on both sides. Beebe had few second-chance opportunities, and was not able to capitalize on the few it did manage to see.

“The strange thing about it is, we’ve only been outrebounded one time this year,” Richey said. “Fort Smith Southside, that was the only time we’ve been outrebounded this year. Then, we come in tonight against a team I felt was comparable in size to us, and we don’t rebound. It just seemed like we didn’t show up the first half.”

The Lady Badgers had open shots that simply didn’t fall for the most part in the second half, including three-point attempts by seniors Sydney Gunter and Whitney Emison. Junior Madison Richey also tried a number of midrange jumpers that were just off the mark, and Christian capitalized with strong defensive rebounding from Thomas and Molli Pugl.

“I thought they had open shots,” Richey said. “They’ve just got to knock them down. I told them after the game that we’re a good team, we just didn’t have a very good shooting night tonight. We make a lot of those shots in practice, and it looks like it would transfer to the game, but it didn’t tonight.”

The game was a setback for Beebe, but Jackson’s 30 points, eight rebounds and five steals came on a night when she was being evaluated by college scouts.

“She’s getting a lot of looks,” Richey said. “There was a coach here tonight from Northwestern Oklahoma, and he’s very high on her. He thinks she has a tremendous upside and will be a good college player. They’ll be back, it’s just what does Jamie want to do?”

The Lady Badgers will open tournament play in the Beebe Holiday Classic with a first-round game against Pulaski Robinson on Thursday.