Friday, January 03, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Technical fouls spell doom for Beebe girls

Leader sports editor

The girls’ championship game of the Badger Holiday Classic was mired throughout with foul calls that stopped the action. A seemingly constant whistle led to brief loss of composure by the host team, and that led to a loss as the Brookland Lady Bearcats beat the Beebe Lady Badgers 61-57 to win the tournament.

With 2:42 left in the game and the score tied at 53, Beebe’s Kalela Miller was called for her fourth foul as she went for a steal near midcourt. Miller reacted by spinning around and punching at the floor and drew a technical foul, which also counted as her fifth personal foul and disqualified her from the remainder of the game.

The first foul on the play resulted in a one-and-one trip to the free-throw line. Brookland’s Rachel Gramling missed the front end of that trip, but made both technical free throws. Jordan Maynard then hit a layup to give the Lady Bearcats, 9-2, a four-point lead with 2:20 left in the game.

Beebe coach Greg Richey felt his player drew a lot of contact on its next possession that wasn’t called. Then when Beebe was called for another hand check, he drew a technical foul with 1:48 left in the game.

Alexa Thompson hit both free throws to cap a 12-0 run that brought Brookland out of a 53-47 deficit and into a 59-53 lead.

Beebe’s Mackenzie Bingham finally ended the run with a putback of a Madison Richey miss with 1:19 remaining. She had a chance to make it a three-point play but missed the free throw.

Brookland’s Bailea Lovrien hit two free throws with 50 seconds remaining to end the Lady Bearcats’ scoring, but Beebe struggled on offense with its leading scorer on the bench.

“I told Kalela that she and I both have to keep our composure better than that,” said Richey. “Losing her at that point and not having her down the stretch really hurt us.”

Brookland’s Thompson also hurt Beebe. She had just four points at halftime, but finished with a team-high 23 and was perfect in the second half. She made 6 of 6 shots from the floor, including three from the three-point line, and was 4 of 4 from the foul line.

“That’s what makes them such a dangerous and good team,” said Richey whose brother Jared Richey coaches Brookland. “Any one of those five starters could be the one to score 20 on a given night. So you can’t focus on shutting down one or two players.”

Brookland shot almost twice as many free throws as Beebe, but was very good from the line until late in the fourth quarter, when it made seven of the last eight attempts. The Lady Bearcats made 19 of 35 free-throw attempts for the game, while Beebe hit 13 of 18 after missing three of its first four.

Lovrien added 14 points and Maynard 12 for Brookland. Miller led all players with 28 points and added six rebounds. Freshman post player Gracie Anders came one blocked shot short of a triple double. She finished with 13 points, 12 rebounds and nine blocks. Beebe was just 2 of 15 from the three-point line and committed 17 turnovers.

The Lady Badgers, 6-3, host Benton on Tuesday, and begin conference play when they host Blytheville on Friday.