Wednesday, January 16, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Beebe halts Lady Rams’ streak

Leader sportswriter

A capacity crowd and two close, dramatic wins in favor of the home teams made it a thrilling night for Badger fans as Beebe swept Paragould in two 5A East Conference games at Badger Sports Arena on Friday.

The Lady Rams’ 25-game winning streak in the 5A East that began nearly two years ago came to an end at the hands of the Lady Badgers in a huge 44-40 victory, while the Badgers pulled out the win on a final-second shot by Tanner Chapman to keep the Beebe boys’ team unbeaten in conference play after three games.

The Lady Badgers (12-5, 3-0) came back from a 28-24 halftime deficit, taking the lead early in the second half on the strength of their 83 percent (15 for 18) shooting from the free-throw line as senior guard Jamie Jackson led the way with 25 points and six rebounds with 17 points and three boards for junior Kalela Miller.

“We came out strong in the second half, and once we got the lead, we were able to dictate what we wanted to do,” second-year Lady Badgers coach Greg Richey said. “We had a good second half. We knew we had to beat them at home, and we knew it was going to be tough. I give credit to the girls with the win.”

Beebe built a lead as high as eight early in the fourth quarter and prevented the Lady Rams (10-4, 2-1) from coming back with a strong performance at the foul line. Richey also complimented his team on its defensive performance against a normally unstoppable Paragould offensive attack. The Lady Badgers held their guest to44 percent from the floor and only 11 points for Lady Rams standout Sydney Layrock.

“I thought our whole team played well,” Richey said. “Everyone played their role, and everyone played outstanding defense.”

Last year’s home game against Paragould ended in heartbreaking fashion as the Lady Rams stole a 33-31 victory on a last-second shot by Layrock.

“It was something the seniors really wanted,” Richey said. “This is one of the goals they set at the beginning of the season was to beat Paragould. To know that we could do it was a relief to them.”

Richey also extended praise to the home crowd, which always turns out in large numbers, and has a penchant for rattling visitors during big conference matchups.

“We had great support from our fans,” Richey said. “They were full in the stands and full in the student section. Anytime you have that kind of support, it gives you that extra adrenaline. I think the fans were key in us winning.”

The boys’ matchup took the same tone as the girls’ game before it as the Badgers rallied from a 28-23 deficit at the break to win 50-49 in heart-stopping fashion, with Chapman knocking down the winning shot in the final five seconds.

Beebe (11-4, 3-0) carried a 36-34 lead into the last period, but the visiting Rams (8-3, 2-1) outshot the Badgers 54 percent to 46 percent to keep it close the entire way.

Senior forward Austin Burroughs led the Badgers with 20 points and four rebounds while junior post player Zach Baker added 12 points and a game-high seven rebounds. Chapman finished with seven points. Beebe outrebounded Paragould 21-14.

Beebe’s scheduled home games against Forrest City on Tuesday were canceled until further notice. The Badgers will rival host Greene County Tech on Friday at Badger Arena.