Wednesday, January 23, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> GCT no match against Badgers

Leader sportswriter

Senior forward Austin Burroughs started the job and junior point guard Tanner Chapman finished it as Beebe overcame a sloppy second half on both ends to take a 67-47 victory over Greene County Tech at Badger Sports Arena on Friday.

The Badgers stayed unbeaten in 5A East Conference play with a strong start led by Burroughs’ 14 first-quarter points, and a 9-of-10 performance by Chapman at the free-throw line in the final eight minutes.

Beebe (12-4, 4-0) shot 15 for 26 from the floor for 58 percent, scoring nearly half its total points at the stripe while the Eagles (7-9, 1-4) went 18 for 30 for an even 60 percent. The poor officiating from the girls’ game that proceeded carried over into the boys’ matchup, as the Eagles turned in a defensive effort that gave the game a physical tone.

“I was really proud of them,” Badgers coach Ryan Marshall said. “Tech came in with their backs against the wall. This was a game they had to win, and I thought our kids were really more intense and outhustled them in the first half. I thought we got after it defensively.

“The way they defend and their physicality caused it to get ugly at times. I thought we matched it and made them look ugly too. The game being the stretch that it was, sometimes the officials get relaxed and let a lot of the bumping go on. It was what it was, and we knew it was going to be that way.”

For all the questionable calls and more specifically no calls, it was a routine call by the officials at the 3:19 mark of the third quarter in which longtime Eagles coach Scott Bowlin sealed his early exit from the game when he disputed a foul. He did not let the first technical-foul call against him deter him from continuing to argue his case, and at one point appeared to calm down before going on another tangent that got him ejected.

Things went smoother for the Badgers in the first quarter as Burroughs took over the game early with four free throws followed by four unanswered field goals, including a transition dunk at the 1:55 mark that got the home crowd on its feet and gave Beebe a 12-4 lead.

The Eagles cut into Beebe’s lead in the second quarter and trailed 24-16 at halftime, but the Badgers got a boost from senior guard Jake Schlenker early in the third quarter on the way to a commanding 43-26 lead heading into the final eight minutes.

Schlenker converted a basket and free throw at the 6:27 mark to make it 30-16, and followed that with a free throw and a defensive rebound that led to another shot with 4:32 remaining in the period. It was Burroughs who went to the line following the incident with Bowlin for four technical shots, as he converted the final three to give the Badgers a 39-21 lead.

“I thought he showed a lot of great leadership,” Marshall said of Burroughs. “Offensively, he carried us in the first half. He’s such a special kid, not just basketball wise he’s good to have on the team.”

Both teams reached the double bonus early in the fourth quarter, and Chapman took advantage with repeated trips to the foul line. Chapman finished with 12 points, all of which came off of free throws.

Burroughs led all scorers with 28 points while Schlenker added eight points. For Greene County Tech, Andrew Hovis led with 14 points and Heath Matheny had nine points.

With a 4-0 start in conference, the Badgers have established themselves as early contenders in the 5A East.

“I think getting out to a 4-0 start is big,” Marshall said. “We’ve put ourselves in a good situation. We’re not to where we’re looking around thinking, ‘gosh, we’ve got to win.’ I’m extremely proud of them.”

Beebe traveled to Wynne last night for a game played after Leader deadlines. Look for details of those games in Saturday’s edition.

The Badgers and Lady Badgers stay on the road later this week when they travel to Nettleton on Friday.