Tuesday, January 08, 2013

SPORT STORY >> Beebe earns opening win

Leader sportswriter

Beebe started out 5A East Conference play on the right note with a big 54-33 victory over Blytheville on the road Friday. The Badgers were coming off a strong runner-up performance in their own Christmas Classic tournament the previous weekend, and carried that momentum into their league opener, improving to 9-4 overall and 1-0 in 5A East Conference play.

Senior guard Jake Schlenker led the way with 20 points while junior post player Zach Baker added 13 points. Beebe got off to a slow start and trailed the Chickasaws 10-6 at the end of the first quarter before rallying in the second quarter to take a 25-19 lead at the break.

The Badgers were solid defensively, holding Blytheville to just seven points in each of the final two quarters while stretching their advantage. They all but put it away in the third quarter, outscoring their host 19-7 to take a 44-26 lead heading into the final eight minutes.

“We were brain dead in the first quarter,” Badgers coach Ryan Marshall said. “We had a lot of trips down the court where we were not too sharp, but we picked it up. Schlenker gave us a lot of senior leadership. He gave us a spark and got things going for us.”

Beebe went on a 40-11 run at one point in the game. The victory gave the Badgers early footing in the conference battle, but still, Marshall hopes to see more improvement.

“We did a good job of boxing out,” Marshall said. “It wasn’t bad defensively, but I thought we would be further along than what we are at this point in the season.”

One recent benefit for the Badgers has been the return of senior forward Austin Burroughs. Burroughs sat out most of December recovering from a leg injury, but returned in time for the Christmas tournament, scoring 18 points against McCrory and 22 points in the semifinal matchup against Cabot, and had a strong defensive presence in the conference opener against Blytheville.

The Lady Badgers also came away with a victory as they downed the Lady Chicks 66-37.

Senior guard Jamie Jackson led the way for Beebe with 27 points while junior Kalela Miller chipped in 15 points. Sydney Gunter added 12 points with seven for junior Madison Richey. The victory improved the Lady Badgers’ record to 10-5 overall and 1-0 in the 5A East Conference.

Beebe continued 5A East Conference play last night at Batesville, and will host Paragould on Friday. The girls matchup against Paragould will be particularly important as the Lady Rams are the defending East champions while the Lady Badgers finished second behind them in league play last year.