Saturday, February 27, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Beebe outright champs

Leader sports editor

The Beebe Lady Badgers secured their first outright 5A-Central Conference championship Thursday with a 60-28 season finale victory at North Pulaski. Next up for the Beebe ladies is a 4 p.m. Tuesday game in the first round of the Class 5A state tournament in Hot Springs.

The Lady Falcons were hot early. Beebe coach Greg Richey wasn’t surprised on NP’s senior night. It was also the last Lady Falcon basketball ever, since Jacksonville High and NPHS are combining to form the JNPSD next school year.

“They hit some shots early,” said Richey. “We expected it. It’s senior night, adrenaline flowing. I told them, they’re going to make some shots that’ll make you say, what? But we got through that and kept playing well.”

North Pulaski made three of its four 3-pointers in the first quarter, and trailed 17-11 going into the second period. That’s when the Lady Badgers began to dominate. Over the next two quarters, Beebe outscored North Pulaski 35-10 to take a 52-21 lead into the final period.

“We tried some different things,” Richey said. “It smoothed out the way we wanted it to. Seniors got to sit a lot and not risk getting anyone hurt. I thought it was a good night for us.”

Beebe took 27 more shots than North Pulaski. That was largely due to two factors. Beebe outrebounded NP 32-21, and forced 24 North Pulaski turnovers while committing only 11.

North Pulaski only had seven players total while Beebe played 15 on Thursday. Nine Lady Badgers scored and nine also dished out at least one assist. Hannah Camp and Libbie Hill each finished with 11 points to lead the Lady Badgers. Camp went 3 for 3 from 3-point range.

Gracie Anders had nine points and nine rebounds. Kassidy Elam had eight points and Katie Turner finished with seven points, five steals and four rebounds.

The Lady Badgers were 24 of 59 from the floor, including 5 of 14 from 3-point range. They were 7 of 14 from the foul line.

North Pulaski made just 5 of 21 two-point attempts, and 4 of 11 3-pointers. The Lady Falcons were 6 of 8 from the line.

Zaria Holloway led NP with nine points. Elisha Smith scored seven while Aaliyah Bynum and Kiarra Evans scored six apiece to round out the Lady Falcons’ scoring.