Tuesday, November 22, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Bears win tourney

Leader sports editor

The Sylvan Hills girls’ basketball team remained undefeated and knocked off a previously unbeaten team to win the Joe T. Robinson Invitational Tournament on Saturday. The Lady Bears made things more exciting than they needed to be, but held on for a 59-58 victory over Little Rock Christian Academy in the tournament championship game.

Sylvan Hills led 59-56 with a minute to go after point guard Mallory Kimble penetrated LRCA’s defense and dished to Jayla Bell for a layup.

But the Lady Bears failed to get back on defense and the Lady Warriors got back to within one just eight seconds later. Sylvan Hills’ Alana Canady recovered and blocked the first attempt, but Jaylen McGowen was there for LRCA for the putback with 52 seconds remaining.

That ended up being the last points of the game, though both teams had chances to score more. Sylvan Hills’ Andrea Dolphin missed a shot in the lane. Teammate Jayla Bell got the rebound but was stripped, the first of three Lady Bear turnovers and six combined turnovers in the final 40 seconds.

LRCA missed at the other end and Canady got the rebound. The Lady Warriors needed to foul, but were still three short of the bonus that would send Sylvan Hills to the free-throw line.

They fouled Canady near midcourt, and then stole the inbound pass. Canady then fouled out with 17 seconds to go and sent McGowen to the line. She missed the front end of a one-and-one. Her teammate, Emma Kelly, got the rebound, but was called for traveling when she fell to the floor.

But again, Sylvan Hills threw away the inbounds pass to LRCA’s Victoria Best. She missed a short jumper and Kelly came down with another offensive rebound. This time she was tied up by Kimble, and the jump ball went to Sylvan Hills.

The Lady Warriors fouled enough to send Bell to the line with five seconds remaining, and she also missed the front end of a one-and-one. LRCA got the rebound, but Diamond Flanders, in for Canady, deflected the first pass and time expired during the scramble for the loose ball.

“At least we stayed aggressive on defense and pulled it out,” said Sylvan Hills coach Shelley Davis. “We sure didn’t handle the ball well in that last minute. But this is the first tournament we’ve won since I’ve been at Sylvan Hills, so overall I’m pleased. We beat an outstanding team, but we obviously still have some things to work on.”

One thing Davis addressed at halftime was guarding the perimeter.

Lady Warrior Aspen Satterwhite made four 3-pointers in about two minutes, turning a 21-16 LRCA deficit with 55 seconds left in the first quarter, into a 28-22 LRCA lead early in the second.

Davis called a timeout and her team controlled the rest of the half. Sylvan Hills took its first lead since Satterwhite’s hot streak with 1:38 left in the half. Flanders blocked a shot and got back-to-back steals, helping the Lady Bears take a 33-32 lead.

Dolphin, who missed her first four 3-point attempts, hit one at the buzzer to send the Lady Bears into the locker room with a 38-34 lead.

It was the biggest lead either team would enjoy the rest of the game.

“I told them we were going to run on a Sunday if they let her (Satterwhite) keep getting 3-pointers up,” Davis said. “We did a much better job with that in the second half. But 13 (Bradley) is their best player, and she really got going in the second half. So there was a lot we had to deal with and we still pulled it out. So I’m pretty pleased with how we did overall.”

Bell led all scorers and rebounders. She finished with double-double totals of 23 points and 12 rebounds. Kimble scored her season high so far this year of 13 points, while Canady added 11 for the Lady Bears.

Satterwhite led LRCA with 16 points, all in the first half. Bradley added 15, 14 of which came in the second half. Kelly scored 10 for the Lady Warriors.

Sylvan Hills (3-0) won the rebounding battle 32-24, despite only having nine rebounds in the first half. Both teams shot 14 free throws. Sylvan Hills made only six while LRCA made 10.

The Lady Bears hosted Morrilton on Tuesday in a girls’/boys’ doubleheader. Look for details of those games in Saturday’s Leader. They will get back to action next Tuesday when they host the Beebe Badgers.