Friday, December 19, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Bison bury Des Arc in conference home game

Leader sportswriter

The Carlisle Bison earned their first win on the hardwood since the 2012-2013 season Monday, and did so by double digits, beating Des Arc 48-37 at Bison Arena.

Carlisle did receive a forfeit win over Brinkley last season, but Monday night’s win over the Eagles was the Bison’s first win on the court since beating Palestine-Wheatley 86-60 in the quarterfinals of the 2A-6 District Tournament at Hughes on Feb. 11, 2013.

“That was definitely huge for our confidence,” said first-year Bison coach Chris Houser. “To get that monkey off our back and break that long losing streak, looking forward, I think it’s going to be real good for us, as far as building momentum when you can build off a win.

“I think we can learn as much off of playing well as we can off of playing bad. So hopefully we can build off of this moving forward, but it’s definitely big for our confidence.”

The Bison (1-8, 1-4) never trailed in Monday’s 2A-6 matchup. They scored the first six points of the game, and led 13-3 at the end of the first quarter with four different Bison players scoring.

Carlisle pushed its lead to 17-3 in the second quarter on four free throws on four attempts by senior post Nick Schafer, and the Bison led 21-8 on a 3-pointer by Drake Adams near the five-minute mark of the second quarter.

Des Arc, though, ended the first half with a 5-1 run that ended with an and-1 by Colton Goodman with 52 seconds left in the half. That set the halftime margin at 22-13.

In the second half, the Bison got their lead back to double digits with a 10-3 run that was capped with a Schafer free throw with 2:29 left in the third quarter. Carlisle led 35-18 at the end of the quarter, with that margin being set on a three by Lewis Bunch with 23 seconds left.

Carlisle led by as much as 18 in the fourth quarter. A steal and transition bucket by Devon Kendrick made the score 41-23 with 5:53 remaining.

It became obvious as the fourth quarter progressed, though, that the Bison weren’t used to playing with a lead, because they kept pushing the ball up the floor and taking quick shots instead of making any attempt to milk the clock once they got the ball past half court, which played into Des Arc’s favor.

As a result of all of the quick shots Carlisle took down the stretch, the Eagles were able to go on a 7-0 run by the midway point of the fourth quarter, which made the score 41-30. It also didn’t help the hosts that Schafer fouled out near the four-minute mark of the fourth.

“That’s something, again, not used to winning, not used to being ahead at the end of the game,” Houser said. “We lost our post player, our go-to guy with about four minutes left in the fourth quarter. They started pressing there towards the end and that sped us up a little bit.

“It took us out of our comfort zone. We’ve been getting pressed since the first game of the year. Everybody we’ve played has pressed us except for them, until the fourth quarter. We’ve seen so much press by now that we should be comfortable with it.

“It’s a little bit different at the end of the game when you’ve got a lead and you’re getting pressed than when you’re down 20 or 30 and getting pressed.”

Des Arc was able to get within 10 of Carlisle’s lead with the score 47-37, but that was as close as the Eagles would get to catching the Bison lead, and in the final minute of play, Kendrick set the final score with a free throw.

Carlisle finished the game 18 of 55 from the floor for 33 percent. Des Arc made 13 of 53 shots for 25 percent. The Eagles outrebounded the Bison 38-31.

Schafer led the Bison with 14 points. Kendrick also scored in double figures Monday. He had 11.

Carlisle played at Hazen last night after deadlines, and will play again next Saturday in the Goldfish Classic at Lonoke.