Tuesday, March 01, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> BHS girls find way to win at 5A state

Leader sports editor

HOT SPRINGS – The No. 1 seeded Beebe Lady Badgers had to come from behind against fourth-seeded Greenbrier, but managed to pull off a 41-35 victory in the first round of the Class 5A state tournament on Tuesday.

The Lady Badgers struggled from the floor throughout the game, and only made nine field goals, but played tough defense and made just enough free throws down the stretch to secure the victory.

Beebe (23-7) missed its first 13 shots and didn’t make a basket until two seconds to go in the first quarter. Kassidy Elam got a steal to start a fast break with 10 seconds left, and finished the break after a pass from Gracie Anders to tie the game at 6-6.

The Lady Badgers continued to stifle Greenbrier in the second quarter while the offense was slightly more effective. Beebe began feeding the ball inside to Anders, who finished on three-straight possessions.

Libbie Hill hit a 3-pointer that put Beebe up 17-11 with 1:04 left in the half, and that’s the way the half ended.

The third quarter belonged to Greenbrier.

Lady Panther guard Kory Westerman, the team’s leading average scorer, went 0 for 11 from the floor in the first half, but hit 3 of 3 from 3-point range and scored 11 points in the third. Greenbrier’s 6-foot-3 center Grace Rice added two points and frustrated Anders underneath on defense.

The Lady Panthers outscored Beebe 16-6 in the third quarter and took a 27-23 lead into the final frame.

Beebe sophomore Katie Turner opened the fourth quarter with her second 3-pointer to pull Beebe to within one point, and the Lady Badgers followed the shot by showing full-court pressure for the first time in the game.

The Lady Panthers threw the ball away on two-straight possessions and lost it out of bounds on a third. The Lady Badgers took the lead with 6:01 to play on two free throws by Anders, but Greenbrier answered right back just 12 seconds later.

Turner scored with 5:35 left to give Beebe a 30-29 lead, and it never trailed again.

An Anders basket with 3:40 to play were the only points until the 1:34 mark when Hill hit both ends of a 1-and-1 that made it 34-29.

Greenbrier got back to within 36-34 with 50 seconds left and got the ball when Hill fouled out, but Turner came up with a big steal and Taylor McGraw hit both ends of a 1-and-1 to seal the Beebe win.

Anders led Beebe with 16 points and eight rebounds. Beebe will play at 1 p.m. Friday against today’s winner between Hot Springs and Nettleton.