Monday, December 23, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Bears overcome deficit

Leader sports editor

The Sylvan Hills boys’ basketball team got an impressive win over Watson Chapel on Friday. The Bears fought back against a Wildcat team that burst out of the gate to take a 64-52 victory at home.

Chapel raced out to a 15-4 lead in the first quarter, but Sylvan Hills responded with nine unanswered points to make it 15-13 with 1:56 left in the period. But the run didn’t stop there. Chapel took a 17-15 advantage into the second quarter, and scored first in the second quarter for a four-point lead.

Sylvan Hills then reeled off 10-straight points for a 25-19 lead. Chapel finally stopped the streak, but Sylvan Hills guard Marlon Clemmons drained a three pointer to complete a 24-6 run that gave the Bears their biggest lead of the first half at 28-21 with four minutes on the clock.

Chapel called timeout and the margin stayed between five and seven points for the next three minutes, but the Wildcats ended the half the same way they started it. With Sylvan Hills leading 32-27, Chapel’s Datreon Lindsey scored six-straight points in the final 43 seconds to send the visiting team into intermission with a 33-32 lead.

“Overall, I’m pretty pleased with where we are from a consistency standpoint,” said Sylvan Hills coach Kevin Davis. “But I was disappointed with how we finished the half. We had a lot of substitutions in there and we didn’t play with much calmness. I think we were a little too excited about being back home and got a little carried away with playing for “me” instead of playing for the team. But we came back and did a much better job in the second half, substitutions and all.”

The first half of the third quarter saw each team trading baskets and one-point leads, and it was an exciting display of athleticism that sparked the Bears and sent them on the run that gave them control of the game.

Senior guard Ronnie Hinton shot a 15-foot fade away from a tough angle on the baseline and slightly behind the backboard.

The shot missed everything, but post player Amani Armond flew in from the opposite side, caught it as it sailed over the rim and slammed it home, exciting the crowd and sparking a run.

The dunk gave Sylvan Hills a 39-38 lead and was the sixth lead change of the quarter. Chapel briefly led again at 42-41, but after a bucket by post player David Johnson put the Bears back in front with the eighth lead change, sophomore guard Cordy Winston got a steal, a layup and added a free-throw for a 46-42 Bears’ lead, and they would never trail again.

Sylvan Hills closed the quarter with a 10-2 run and took a 51-44 advantage into the final period of play. Johnson became the go-to man early in the fourth. He scored the first five points for Sylvan Hills in the quarter, and all five were off assists by Armond.

“I think our inside play is really showing some progress,” Davis said. “David is being more assertive and he’s got some good moves down low. I think as a sophomore he was a backup role player. As a junior he was a starter and I think he was like, ‘OK I’m a starter now, what do I do? Now he’s a senior and I think he’s made his mind up that it’s time to play like a senior.

“And with Armani coming on and really playing well lately, it’s giving us a one-two punch down low that’s really becoming effective.”

Hinton led all scorers with 18 points. Johnson finished with 16 points and five rebounds. Winston added 14 points, four assists and three steals, while Armond had eight points, 11 rebounds and four assists.

Xavier Young led the Wildcats with 13 points while Lindsey scored 10. Post player Ben Marcus had nine points and 13 rebounds. Chapel won the rebounding battle 31-27. Sylvan Hills was 21 of 58 from the floor for 36 percent, and were 17 of 25 from the free-throw line. Chapel was 19 of 49 from the floor and 12 of 14 from the line.

The key statistic was the turnover difference. Sylvan Hills had just eight turnovers, and none in the fourth quarter. Chapel had 20 turnovers, 11 of which were Sylvan Hills steals.

The Bears, 5-2, play Mountain Home at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Bomber Invitational at Mountain Home.