Friday, December 02, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> SH girls storm back on Beebe

Leader sports editor

When the Beebe ladies traveled to Sylvan Hills on Tuesday, it became a tale of two halves. The Lady Badgers dominated the second quarter and took a 23-14 lead into halftime, but Sylvan Hills controlled the entire second half to pull out a 47-39 victory and remain undefeated at 5-0.

Beebe’s lead grew to 27-16 with five minutes remaining in the third quarter when the Lady Bears mounted a rally that practically never stopped. It started with a 9-0 run, spearheaded by junior post player Alana Canady. She scored a bucket inside to start the comeback. At 27-21, Canady got a steal and went the distance for a layup and was fouled. She missed the free throw, but Lannie Ballard hit two free throws after another Canady steal to make the score 27-25 with 3:20 left in the quarter.

Beebe’s Libbie Hill finally broke the streak with a putback of her own miss at 2:02, but Andrea Dolphin answered with a 3-pointer at the other end to pull the Lady Bears to within one.

With 28 seconds left in the period, Dolphin found Canady wide open under the basket to give Sylvan Hills its first lead at 30-29 since three minutes into the first quarter.

That’s how the quarter ended. Holland forced a turnover and got a fastbreak bucket, but the Lady Bears answered with a 7-0 run and never trailed again.

In the second half, Sylvan Hills was switching back and forth between man defense and an aggressive 3-2 matchup zone.

“We played good defense the whole game I thought,” said Sylvan Hills coach Shelley Davis. “I thought the defensive work we did in the first half played a part in how effective we were in the second half. I wish we could execute a little better than we did on offense, but if they’ll keep working like that on defense we’ll have a good year, because we won’t always shoot as poorly as we did tonight, especially in the first half.”

The game was officiated much differently from one half to the other as well. Sylvan Hills was in the free-throw bonus by the 1:33 mark of the first quarter.

Beebe was shooting early in the second and both teams were well into the double bonus by halftime.

In the third quarter, only five fouls total had been called, which Beebe coach Greg Richey believes also played a role in the outcome.

“It wasn’t anything really blatant, it was more about how it changed at halftime,” said Richey. “It’s hard to adjust in the middle of a game. You try to get a feel for how things are going to be called and you make adjustments for that. When it changes within the game, and now they’re allowing a lot of contact they weren’t allowing, it makes it difficult. Especially against a team as physical as Sylvan Hills is. If you let them use their hands and put a body on you, those are some strong, physical girls and that’s an advantage for them.”

While Beebe shot less than half the free throws than Sylvan Hills, it didn’t take advantage of its opportunities. The Lady Badgers made just 6 of 12 foul shots while Sylvan Hills went 15 of 26.

Canady was a force on both ends of the court and filled up the stat box. She finished with 14 points, nine rebounds, six blocked shots and four steals. Jayla Bell added 13 for the Lady Bears while Mallory Kimble scored 10.

Libbie Hill led the Lady Badgers (3-2) with 18 points while Hannah Camp scored 10. Beebe outrebounded Sylvan Hills 36-32, but committed 19 turnovers, including 13 in the decisive second half.

The Lady Bears host Batesville on Tuesday, and then play Wonderview at 4 p.m. Wednesday in the Northwester Modern Woodmen Invitational at Morrilton High School.

Beebe plays McClellan at 7 p.m. Monday in the first round of the Cabot Pre-Holiday Classic.