Friday, February 15, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Badgers control 5A East title race

Leader sportswriter

The 5A-East Conference basketball landscape has changed and Beebe is the new architect – on both sides of the conference standings.

Tuesday night, the Beebe Badgers, who have been step-for-step with Forrest City all season long in conference play, took their biggest step of the season by holding off the Mustangs 61-55 at Mustang Arena.

The win gave Beebe sole possession of first place in the boys standings and dropped the Mustangs to second place. Each team has three games left to play.

Beebe would have to drop two of their final three games and Forrest City would have to win out for the Mustangs to have a shot at winning the outright league title. and the top seed into the Class 5A state tournament.

If the Badgers win out, the league title and No. 1 seed into state is theirs. A straight up tie for first place at the end would mean a co-championship, but it would give Beebe the No. 1 seed into the state tournament.

Forrest City’s Trey Thompson led all scorers with 29 points Tuesday, but beyond that the 6’9” junior forward had little to no help. Senior guard Terion Smith, off the bench, was the next high man for the Mustangs with eight points.

Forrest City’s remaining four starters contributed a total of 12 points. Thompson added eight rebounds to go along with his point total.

From the floor, the Mus-tangs connected on just 17 of their 44 shots and were 4 of 16 from the three-point arc.

Austin Burroughs led Beebe with 22 points, 13 of that in the first half, which included four three-pointers. Jake Schlenker added 11 points for the Badgers, while Tanner Chapman had nine and Zach Baker had eight.

Forrest City led 19-14 after one period, closing out the quarter with a 14-2 run.

Beebe used a pair of scoring runs in the second period – a 7-2 spurt after Forrest City tied the game at 23-23 – to lead 32-26 at the half. The Mustangs grabbed a 38-37 lead, but missed their next nine shots, and the Badgers scored the final seven points to regain a 44-38 cushion to start the fourth period.

“I thought that stretch, going 0 for 9, was the turning point in the game,” said Forrest City coach Dwight Lofton.

After cutting Beebe’s lead to four points in the first two minutes of the final frame, Beebe pushed the margin to 52-42 with less than two minutes to play. A rebound and putback by Dwain Whitfield got the Mustangs within three at 53-50 with a minute left. A Jared Gowan layup put Beebe’s lead at 57-50 with 44 seconds to play.

Still, the Mustangs refused to fold, getting within four points at 59-55 with five seconds left, after a Thompson three. Chapman hit two free throws to ice the game for the Badgers, who hit 9 of 11 free throws in the fourth.


Kalela Miller and Jamie Jackson combined to score 58 points Tuesday night to lead the Beebe Lady Badgers past Forrest City’s Lady Mustangs 81-66 at Mustang Arena.

The win keeps the Lady Badgers unbeaten in the 5A-East Conference at 11-0 and clinches a class 5A state tournament berth, with three games remaining.

Forrest City drops to 3-8 in the East and into sixth place with three games left to play.

Miller led with 34 points (11 points in the first and fourth periods and 13 in the second period) while Jackson added 24 points – 11 of that in the fourth.

The two teams battled to a 15-15 tie to end the first period before Beebe took a 10-point lead into halftime. Forrest City got within four at 49-45 late in the third period on a long two by Mary Burks. The Lady Mustangs were within six points with 4:37 to play in the game, before Beebe used a 20-to-11 run to close out the game.

Burks and Jakayla Burke led Forrest City with 15 points while Dominique Dillard and Nikima Chatters had 12 each and Jabrisha Hawkins had 10.