Friday, December 20, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Bears win consolation

Leader sports editor

The Sylvan Hills boys basketball team bounced back from an initial setback at the Russellville tournament to win its last two games and the consolation bracket. The Bears beat Sheridan 53-50 in the second round and hammered Arkadelphia 70-37 on Saturday to claim the consolation prize.

Sylvan Hills had struggled in its previous three games away from home, but showed signs of getting over its road weariness in the last two games.

“Certainly you need to start hitting your stride and getting comfortable on the road with conference coming up quickly,” Sylvan Hills coach Kevin Davis said. “I think getting some football guys acclimated helped. Weadded Marlon (Clemmons) and Trajan (Doss) from football, and we got Nate (Burchett) back from injury. When we didn’t play well on the road before, we were without those three guys. Having them in there helps our depth, and gets everybody back full-time at their natural positions. I think all that shows. The Arkadelphia game was certainly our best one up to this point as far as execution goes.”

The Bears controlled the Badgers from the start, building a 20-11 lead by the end of the first quarter, and extending it to a 13-point margin by halftime. The lead was all the way up to 56-31 by the end of three quarters, and shortly into the fourth, the sportsmanship rule kicked in and the clock ran continuously.

“Sometimes you hear coaches say things like their players bought in, but I just think I have buy-in guys,” Davis said. “They went out and executed our game plan, and played the game the way we’re trying to play it. Sometimes the game gets at a quick pace and you have to make quick decisions. I thought our guys did a great job of execution in that situation.”

Senior Ronnie Hinton and sophomore Cordy Winston each scored 22 points to lead the Bears offensively. No one else scored in double figures, but 10 players broke into the scorebook.

“That’s a sign that our depth is developing,” Davis said. “Hopefully it keeps getting better from here.”

The win over Sheridan wasn’t as easy. The game was tied at 39 after three quarters, but Sylvan Hills’ man-to-man defense began producing several stops, and eventually the Bears eased out to an eight-point lead.

Hinton blocked three shots after coming over from help-side defense, and the Bears managed to add points after each block.

“He came through in a big way for us,” Davis said of Hinton. “We didn’t really have anyone that matched up with their big man at 6-foot-9. So we had to play good team defense and Ronnie came over and made three huge plays for us.”

Hinton also led the team in scoring against the Yellowjackets, dropping in 13 points while Winson and Armani Armond added 11 each.

The Bears, along with the Lady Bears, played a makeup at home against Watson Chapel last night after Leader deadlines. Look for details of those matchups in Saturday’s edition of The Leader.

The Sylvan Hills boys will play in the Mountain Home tournament Dec. 26-28, while the Lady Bears will be at the Beebe tournament on the same dates.