Wednesday, January 20, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Beebe girls alone in first

Leader sportswriter

The Beebe girls claimed sole position of the top spot in the 5A-Central Conference on Friday at home, and did so in a big way, as the Lady Badgers took a double-digit lead into halftime and maintained that double-digit lead throughout the second half en route to a 52-35 win over Jacksonville. 

Beebe (13-4, 4-0) and Jacksonville (9-8, 3-1) entered Friday’s conference game as the last two unbeaten teams in the 5A-Central. The Lady Badgers started the game strong and outscored the Lady Red Devils 14-5 in the first quarter.

Jacksonville cut the lead to six at the 6:19 mark of the second quarter. A 3-pointer by Desiree Williams made the score 16-10, but the Lady Badgers ended the first half with a 13-2 run to take a commanding 29-12 lead into halftime.

“We got off to a good start,” said Beebe coach Greg Richey. “I thought my bench came in and did a good job. We got into a little bit of foul trouble with our point guard (Taylor McGraw). We know that when we play Jacksonville it’s going to be a battle.

“We know it’s going to be a tough, competitive game. They came in 3-0 in conference and I didn’t expect them to go away. I knew that if we’d get out to a lead that they wouldn’t go away, but we kind of kept it 15 to 18 points most of the time.”

Jacksonville’s game plan coming in was to slow Beebe’s offense down, but that game plan wasn’t executed, according to head coach Crystal Scott.

“Our game plan coming in was to slow them down and we abandoned that in the first two minutes of the ballgame,” said Scott. “We never got into what we wanted to do. We didn’t play well, but Beebe had a lot to do with that.

“They’re a well-coached ballclub. I know coach Richey, he’s a great person. They’ve got super kids and they were just bigger and stronger than us. They had a good game plan, their kids executed. We didn’t do a good job of executing, but like I said, they had a lot to do with that.”

McGraw scored on the first possession of the second half to push the Lady Badgers’ lead to 19, 31-12, and Beebe went up 34-13 on a Libbie Hill three near the six-minute mark of the third quarter.

Jacksonville made it 37-20 with 1:51 left in the third on an Alexis James three, but Beebe’s lead was 19 by the end of the quarter, with the score 41-22.

The Lady Red Devils made it a 15-point game on another three by Williams with 5:23 left to play. That made the score 43-28. Beebe responded with a 6-2 run to push its lead back to 19, 49-30.

The lead was also 19 when Beebe scored its final point of the game – a McGraw free throw with 1:05 to play. Asia Williams scored the last points of the game on a basket with 20 seconds remaining.

Friday’s game marked Beebe’s first win against JHS since joining the Central Conference. Jacksonville swept the Lady Badgers last season.

Two different Lady Badgers scored in double figures. Gracie Anders led the way with 13 points and 13 rebounds. McGraw scored 11. Hill added nine.

Desiree Williams was the only Jacksonville player that scored in double figures. She had 12 points and James scored nine.