Friday, November 27, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Bears blow out Senators at home

Leader sports editor

After a 1-1 effort at the Lake Hamilton Classic, the Sylvan Hills Bears cruised through their home opener Tuesday against Joe T. Robinson, running away from the Senators for a 70-34 victory in Sherwood.

The Bears played half court man defense the entire game, and it caused the shorthanded Senators some trouble. Robinson’s football season ended the Friday before, but Anwar Hardin still held several football players who figure into the starting lineup out of Tuesday’s game.

Shooting woes from short range by Sylvan Hills kept the Senators close in the first quarter. The Bears missed several shots from inside the lane, including a few from point-blank range.

Conversely, they were hitting from outside and still built a 14-8 lead by the end of the first quarter. In fact, 10 of the game’s first 11 points were from beyond the 3-point arc. After Sylvan Hills point guard Cordy Winston missed the first long range shot of the game, he, Sam Williams and Jacobe’ Davis, along with Robinson’s Traez Gibson and James Jordan combined to hit five-straight 3-pointers.

Williams added an old fashioned 3-point play and Winston another free throw to make it 13-6 a little more than halfway through the first quarter. Scoring bogged down on both ends for the rest of the quarter, but the Bears picked it up in the second period.

“We shot pretty well from outside, butwe missed way too many one-footers,” said Sylvan Hills coach Kevin Davis. “That’s not going to get you far in the league we play in. You get opportunities like that you have to take advantage of them.”

It was a strange atmosphere at the game as well. School was out for fall break and many of the people in attendance were recent graduates more interested in catching up with classmates than watching the game. That, coach Davis believed, played a role in the game’s lack of energy in the early going.

“It wasn’t your typical atmosphere for a home opener, that’s for sure,” Davis said. “We hadn’t been at school. Kids have been lounging around all day. The game had more of a homecoming feel to it where there were a lot of distractions. That’s always the case at these games, but it’s a little unusual for that to be the home opener.”

Jacobe’ Davis sparked the run that broke the game open in the second quarter. He scored back-to-back transition baskets before J.D. Smith came off the bench and converted a 3-point play. That capped a 14-4 run that gave the Bears a 28-12 lead and forced a Robinson timeout with 3:01 left in the half.

Davis added another 3-pointer and the Bears took a 36-17 lead into intermission.

The first part of the third quarter was close and slow-paced, but that changed about two minutes into the second half. Sylvan Hills ratcheted up the pressure and forced turnovers on four-straight Senator possessions, but only managed one free throw out of the exchange.

Williams finally hit a 3-pointer that gave the Bears their biggest lead at 44-20. The lead grew to 52-24 and Sylvan Hills got another turnover, but missed another point-blank layup that would’ve put the margin into the mercy rule range.

Instead, Robinson scored four-straight to end the period trailing 52-28.

Gibson hit another 3-pointer early in the fourth to cut the margin to 21. That’s when coach Davis put all five starters back into the game. Within a minute, Jordan Washington hit a 3-pointer and Jacobe’ Davis made two free throws to put the margin back at 26.

After a Robinson turnover, Winston drained a 3-pointer to make the score 60-31 with 4:44 left in the game. The Senators turned it over again just nine second later, and Williams hit a short jumper with 3:53 to invoke the sportsmanship rule.

Winston led all players with 20 points. Jacobe’ Davis added 12 and Williams 10 for the Bears. Smith scored nine off the bench, seven in the second half.

After hitting just 6 of 22 2-point shots in the first half, the Bears finished 18 of 43. They were 7 of 20 from outside the arc to finish 25 of 63 from the floor. Sylvan Hills finished with 10 turnovers, but only had six before the mercy rule was invoked.

“Ten turnovers is not bad, and to only have six with your main players, I’ll take that,” coach Davis said. “We’re so guard heavy, and we have a lot of good experience at guard, that should be one of our strengths. We need to take care of the ball.”

Sylvan Hills outrebounded the Senators 34-20, with Washington and Alex Curry each pulling down seven rebounds.

“That’s good because you can rebound even if you’re small,” Davis said. “That’s a position game and if you’re playing hard and playing smart you can rebound.”

Robinson (0-6) committed 28 turnovers and got considerably fewer shot attempts. The Senators made 11 of 38 from the floor, including 5 of 9 from 3-point range. They were 7 of 10 from the foul line while Sylvan Hills hit 13 of 19. Gibson led Robinson with 18 points.

Sylvan Hills is off until Friday when it travels to Batesville.