Tuesday, February 26, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Beebe boys outlast Chapel in overtime

Leader sportswriter

PINE BLUFF – It took two overtimes to get it done, but Beebe eventually got past Watson Chapel 53-50 in the opening round of the class 5A state basketball tournament at the Pine Bluff Convention Center on Tuesday.

Beebe led 26-20 at halftime, but managed just 14 points in the 20-minute span of the third and fourth periods and the first overtime. The Badgers finally found their offense in the second overtime by starting with an 8-0 run and scoring 13 points in the four-minute span.

The Badgers (21-6, No. 1 East) enjoyed a flowing offense early on, but halftime adjustments by the Wildcats (13-13, No. 4 South) made it a defensive struggle from the third quarter until the second overtime, when two quick baskets by Beebe finally sealed it.

“Chapel played harder than we did in spurts,” Beebe coach Ryan Marshall said. “I thought our depth hurt us, but they played harder. We made some bad decisions and had a couple of kids who just didn’t show up and play.”

Momentum was up for grabs from the 6:06 mark of the fourth quarter until the start of second overtime, when senior forward Austin Burroughs scored on a putback of his own miss to give the Badgers a 42-40 lead.

Junior point guard Tanner Chapman followed with a basket and a chance for a three-point play with 2:14 left to play, but missed his free-throw attempt.

Chapman re-turned to the line seconds later and hit the front end of a one-and-one free throw, and a basket and free throw by junior post player Zach Baker with 1:38 remaining gave the Badgers their first comfortable cushion since early in the third quarter at 48-40.

Baker finished with nine points, with few other looks due to a defensive scheme by the Wildcats that focused on taking him out of the mix.

“I thought early he was actually good, but the second quarter on, they did take him out of it,” Marshall said.

“I thought he took himself out of the mix more than anything – very disappointed in how he played. And then I think Austin got fatigued, his shots started coming up a little bit short,” he added.

“We got up 10 a couple of times, eight a couple of times and couldn’t finish them off, and that’s because of them,” Marshall said.

With the victory, the Badgers move on to the second round of the tourney where they will face the winner of today’s first-round game between West No. 2 seed Harrison and Central No. 3 seed Pulaski Academy. Tipoff for the second-round game will be at 8:30 p.m. tomorrow night.

Though the Badgers eventually earned the win, Marshall was visibly and vocally upset with his squad immediately following the game.

“I think with the anxiety for the game, I thought we got a little tired,” Marshall said. “And they’re extremely athletic. They were beating us to spots. I felt like they outhustled us for a big stretch of the ballgame.”

Beebe shot 44 percent for the game at 18 of 41 while the Wildcats were 41 percent at 19 of 46.

Burroughs led the Badgers with 20 points while Chapman added 13 points.

For Watson Chapel, Tevin Brown and Benjamin Marcus led the way with 12 points each while Jalen Courtney added 11 points for the Wildcats.