Friday, November 25, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Beebe holds line against Southerners

Leader sports editor

The Lady Badger basketball team picked up two nice home wins this week, holding off 4A power Southside-Batesville 53-51 on Monday, then edging past a much larger Valley View team 52-48 in overtime on Tuesday.

Junior guard Libbie Hill’s outstanding season continued in both games. She is averaging more than 20 points per game this season, and scored 23 and 25 respectively this week.

“There’s a reason Henderson State has offered her already,” said Beebe coach Greg Richey. “She’s capable of doing a lot of things and not just score, and that’s what good players do.”

In Monday’s game, Beebe took control right away, scoring within seconds of the opening tip and jumping out to a quick 10-point lead. It was 17-9 at the end of the first quarter, but the margin never got much larger, despite phenomenal outside shooting by the Lady Badgers

Beebe led 29-20 at halftime, and scored 18 of those points from 3-point range. Sophomore Marianna Richey had 11 of those, nine from outside.

That forced Southside to make a defensive adjustment at halftime, and the 3-point shot was largely taken away in the second half.

Still, Beebe maintained its lead with aggressive defense. Southside hit a 3-pointer early in the quarter, and Richey called for pressure at midcourt. The halfcourt trap troubled the Lady Southerner ball handlers, and Beebe took its biggest lead of the game at 34-23 after Hannah Camp scored five-straight points for the Lady Badgers.

That forced a Southside timeout with 6:40 left in the third, and the Southerners came out of the break applying their own ball pressure. That also troubled Beebe, and with 4:05 left in the third, Southside had quickly climbed back to within 36-34.

The Lady Badgers re-grouped and held SSB scoreless for the last half of the period while taking a 42-34 lead into the fourth quarter, but the Southerners still had a run left.

Senior point guard Reese Gardner made both ends of a one-and-one after getting a steal to cut Beebe’s lead to 48-47 with 1:17 left in the game. That’s when Hill came through for the home team.

She was only 4 of 8 from the free-throw line up to that point, but she made two big free throws for a three-point lead with 59 seconds left. Hill then flew out to the wing on defense to block Gardner’s 3-point attempt. She also came down with the ball and was fouled at the other end. Again, Hill made both foul shots for a five-point lead with 34 seconds to go.

Hill finished with six steals and four assists to go with her 23 points. Camp had 14 points and eight rebounds for Beebe, while Richey also finished with 14 points.

Senior post Kessie Jenkins led Southside with 17 points and nine rebounds, while Gardner had 14 points.

In Tuesday’s overtime win over Valley View, the Lady Badgers blew several opportunities at the line to put the game away. They made just 14 of 26 foul shots, but still overcame a massive size disadvantage inside to pick up the victory and run their record to 4-1.

The Lady Badgers will travel to Sylvan Hills on Tuesday.