Friday, December 19, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Beebe earns first victory

Leader sportswriter

It took eight games, but the Beebe girls got their first win of the season Tuesday night at Badger Arena, beating 5A-East Conference member Valley View by the final score of 60-53.

The Lady Badgers (1-7) have played a very tough nonconference schedule thus far, and in Tuesday’s game against the Lady Blazers (3-5), who replaced Beebe in the 5A-East after the Lady Badgers made the move this year to the 5A-Central, the host team led from start to finish.

“I thought defensively in the first half we were as good as we’ve been all year,” said Beebe coach Greg Richey. “I thought we played good defense – we did for a while and we started losing a little bit there at the end, but it was a solid effort.

“We ran the offense and did things we needed to do to win. It’s a good win for us. They’ll probably be competing for first in the East. I’m really proud of the girls.”

Beebe’s shot selection was also good, as it made 50 percent of its shots in the first half. The Lady Badgers jumped out to a 5-1 lead on a 3-pointer from Kassidy Elam with 6:03 left in the first quarter, and by the end of the quarter, Beebe led 15-5.

The Lady Badgers pushed their lead to 13 at the 5:10 mark of the second quarter on a putback by Ashlyn Johnson after a missed three by point guard Taylor McGraw, which made the score 20-7.

Valley View responded with a 7-0 run to cut the Beebe lead to 20-14, and at halftime, the Lady Badgers led 24-19. A basket by Valley View’s Lauren Hathcock at the start of the second half cut the Lady Badger lead to 24-21, but Beebe answered with a 7-1 run to lead 31-22.

That run was capped with a stellar bounce pass from McGraw at the top of the key that went underneath the basket to wide-open teammate Shea Holland, who got the easy lay-in with 3:02 left in the third quarter.

By the end of the quarter, Beebe led 36-30, and that score was set on a free throw by McGraw with 7.5 seconds left. A pair of Valley View free throws made it a four-point game early in the fourth quarter, but Beebe answered with a 5-0 run to push its lead to 41-32.

Valley View got within 42-37 of Beebe’s lead at the 6:25 mark of the fourth quarter, but the Lady Badgers responded with a 6-0 run that pushed their lead back to double digits, leading 48-37.

Beebe led by as much as 14 late in the fourth quarter. McGraw was fouled with 2:41 to play, and she went to the line for four free throws after Valley View’s Hathcock was given a technical for arguing the call.

McGraw made all four free throws to push the hosts’ lead to 54-40, and the Lady Blazers were able to clean up the score as the game came to a close.

The Lady Badgers made 19 of 37 shots from the floor for 51 percent, and the Lady Blazers made 15 of 38 shots for 39 percent. Beebe also made 20 of 25 free throws for 80 percent. The Beebe girls actually made 21 free throws, but one was waived off because of a lane violation.

Valley View also had 25 attempts from the stripe, and made 14 of them for 56 percent. Valley View outrebounded Beebe 23-19.

Each team had three players score in double figures. Johnson led all scorers with 19 points. McGraw had 17 points, and Elam had 12. For Valley View, Ashleigh Guthrie led the way with 14 points. Harleigh Jones scored 12 points for the Lady Blazers and Hannah White scored 11.

Beebe played Forrest City last night after deadlines, and the Lady Badgers will play again in their own holiday tournament next Saturday.