Tuesday, December 22, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Sylvan Hills handles Chapel

Leader sportswriter

The Sylvan Hills boys didn’t have too much trouble with Watson Chapel on Friday in Sherwood, as the Bears improved to 7-2 on the season with a 71-50 win over the Wildcats.

With Friday’s win, the Bears have now won four straight, and consistency has played a big part in the Bears’ recent success. Sylvan Hills’ win streak began in last week’s Cyclone Invitational Tournament in Russellville, which Sylvan Hills won.

“If you look at the Russellville tournament, the last four games we’ve started the same,” said Sylvan Hills coach Kevin Davis. “It’s been about a 10-point lead in the first quarter and then we’ve been able to maintain.

“The last three games, the scores were 68, 69 and 70. That tells me this team has been real consistent with what they’re doing, and that’s what we have to do. Consistency is a huge factor for a basketball team.

“We need to be consistent players, we need to be consistent students and we need to be a consistent team. That’s what you’re seeing now in this stretch.”

Sylvan Hills started strong and built a 12-4 lead to start the game. Both teams added a basket before the first quarter came to a close, which gave the Bears a 14-6 lead at the end of one.

The hosts held their largest lead of the second quarter at 27-12, but Watson Chapel (4-4) closed the gap to 31-24 before Sylvan Hills added the final points of the first half on a contested layup by Cordy Winston on the Bears’ final possession before the break. That made the score 33-24 at halftime.

Watson Chapel scored the first three points of the third quarter on a Darrell Williams basket and Derrick Marks free throw, which cut the Bears’ lead to 33-27, but Sylvan Hills answered with a 9-0 run to push its lead back to double digits and make the score 42-27.

The Bears made four shots from the floor in the third quarter, and those four baskets were made by Zion Butler and Traveon Ross, who scored five points apiece in the third period and provided a needed spark for the hosts when their only other points of the quarter came on a pair of free throws by Sam Williams.

“They did,” Davis said of Ross and Butler. “At Russellville, our bench was the difference. We play 10 guys and Traveon is the 11th man. He has been in the rotation. He’s not been in the first two fives, but all 12 guys I’ve got sitting over there, I feel like can contribute.

“I don’t hesitate to call anybody’s number over there, and they’ve got to be ready.”

Davis also pointed out guard Herman Washington for his play. Washington came in and drained a 3-pointer with 2:57 to go in the first half, which gave the Bears their 27-12 lead.

“Herman came in and hit a big three and hit a big free throw for us down there,” Davis said, “and just in his minutes, he comes away positive from the game. He helps us not only defensively, but he’s got something to show for a little bit of offense as well.

“Now you’re seeing, up and down the bench, consistency. Guys being able to come in and contribute and that’s huge to a basketball team.”

Sylvan Hills led 45-35 at the end of the third quarter, and steadily added to that lead throughout the fourth. Consecutive and-1s by JaCobe Davis late in the game made the score 69-50, and the Bears added two more points before the final buzzer to set the final score.

The Bears finished the game 22-41 from the floor for 54 percent. Watson Chapel was 15-52 from the floor for 29 percent. From the free-throw line, the Bears were 22-36 and the Wildcats were 13-19.

Watson Chapel outrebounded Sylvan Hills 32-23, but the Bears won the turnover category 13-17.

JaCobe Davis led all scorers with 23 points. Two other Bears scored in double figures. Williams added 15 points and Jordan Washington scored 11 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.

Marks led Watson Chapel with 19 points. He was the only Wildcat that scored in double figures. Jakobi Jackson added nine points and a game-high 10 rebounds.