Friday, March 04, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Badgers lose to Nettleton again

Leader sportswriter

HOT SPRINGS – The Beebe girls’ season ended Friday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the Class 5A state tournament with a narrow 34-32 loss to East No. 3 seed Nettleton.

Nettleton, who beat 51-43 in November, led almost the entire game, but Beebe (23-6) took a brief lead in the fourth quarter. Beebe trailed 29-25 at the end of the third quarter, but Lady Badger center Gracie Anders scored 35 seconds into the fourth quarter and point guard Taylor McGraw added a corner three to give Beebe a 30-29 lead with 6:47 remaining.

Nettleton called timeout after McGraw’s three, and Lady Raider forward Dasia Young got a 3-point play after the timeout, which put Nettleton back up 32-30.

The Lady Raiders (27-3) pushed their lead to 34-30 shortly after, and Anders scored inside the paint with just over four minutes left, which ended up setting the final score.

Beebe had a chance to tie or take the lead on its next-to-last possession, but couldn’t score. Nettleton’s Javia Wilson was fouled with less than 10 seconds to play. She missed the front end of a 1-and-1.

Anders got the rebound, passed to McGraw at half court and McGraw passed across the court to fellow senior Kassidy Elam. She attempted a contested three as time wound down, but the shot hit the front of the rim and time expired as Elam chased down the rebound.

Both teams struggled out of the gate with their shot. Nettleton made 7 of 22 shots in the first half, while the Lady Badgers made just 5 of 23, including 2 of 10 from 3-point range.

The Lady Raiders led 7-4 at the end of the first quarter and 22-15 at halftime.

Beebe made 7 of 23 shots in the second half, but continued to struggle from the perimeter, making 2 of 11 attempts from downtown. Nettleton finished the game 0 for 3 from 3-point range.

“We had a couple go in and out,” said Beebe coach Greg Richey. “I don’t know that Nettleton even made a three the whole game, and they’re a 3-point shooting team also. It came down to grinding it out and we came up two points short on the grind, but I’m proud of them.”

Anders led all players with 11 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks. Elam added eight points, six assists and three steals. Mya Love and Young led Nettleton with 10 points each.