Monday, December 05, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Hillside fends off Badgers’ late rally

Leader sports editor

The Sylvan Hills Bears remained undefeated with hard-fought 60-47 win over a vastly improved Beebe boys’ team Tuesday in Sherwood. Sylvan Hills led at the end of every quarter, but didn’t have the win secured until late in the fourth quarter, despite taking a 10-point lead into the final frame.

Bear coach Kevin Davis wanted to see his team close it out better, but still sees steady progress from his largely inexperienced group.

“We’re 4-0, and three of them have been really close,” said Davis. “We beat Lake Hamilton down there and that went to the wire. We beat Morrilton at home and that went to overtime. I thought we had a chance to put this one away a little sooner than we did, but Beebe is a much better team this year than they have been. I don’t want to take anything away from them and how much they’ve improved. But I thought we had a little lapse in focus there in the fourth quarter when they got back in it. Hopefully we’ll learn from that and won’t let that happen again.”

Sylvan Hills led 47-37 at the end of the third quarter, but Beebe scored six-straight to start the fourth to make it a four-point game with five minutes remaining. Senior Badger K.J. O’Neill hit two free throws to start the run. Back-to-back Bear turnovers led to back-to-back penetrating layups by D’Andre Butler that made it 47-43 with 5:05 left.

With 2:38 left in the game, Sylvan Hills’ offense still had made just one basket in the period, but the defense had still preserved a 49-45 lead after a Brad Worthington basket for Beebe.

Badger coach Ryan Marshall called timeout after Worthington’s basket at the 2:38 mark, and it was all Sylvan Hills from that point. Jordan Washington started the run with a 6-footer from inside the lane. After a Beebe turnover, Jacobe Davis hit Zion Butler for an alley-oop layup that made it 53-45. After a Grant Jackson miss on Beebe’s end, Justin Glasco hit a 3-pointer from the left corner with 1:30 remaining that gave the Bears an 11-point lead and all but sealed the win for the home team.

“We took fewer 3-pointers in the second half and we made more, and there’s a good reason for that,” Davis said. “Early on we weren’t taking shots in the rhythm of our offense. This group broke a team record in practice on our outside shooting drills that we do. They scored the highest of any team I’ve ever had. We don’t make them in games because we don’t take the right shots. We did a better job of that in the second half tonight.”

The Bears went 3 for 7 from outside in the second half after going 2 for 18 in the first half.

Beebe (1-3) jumped out to a quick lead with Worthington starting the game red hot from the floor. He made four baskets over a three-minute stretch as Beebe jumped out to a 12-5 lead. Sylvan Hills closed the first quarter with a 7-0 run over the last four minutes to take a 13-12 lead, but Beebe came right back.

Butler scored four-straight, the last two coming on a steal and layup that put the Badgers up 19-14 with 5:35 to go in the first half. But again, the Bears came back to lead 30-26 at halftime.

Washington got into foul trouble and junior Alex Curry took over inside and became a force on the boards. Meanwhile Jacobe Davis and Butler combined for 13 points to put the Bears in front.

Jacobe Davis and Worthington tied for high scoring honors with 19 points apiece. O’Neill added 12 for Beebe while Washington scored 11 for the Bears.

Both teams will be busy next week. The Sylvan Hills boys and girls will host Batesville on Tuesday before entering tournament play in various spots.

The Sylvan Hills boys will play Mountain Home at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Cyclone Classic at Russellville High School.

The Badger boys will face Greenbrier at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Northwestern/Modern Woodmen Classic at Morrilton.