Tuesday, January 31, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Bears, Bruins split league games again

Leader sports editor

Sylvan Hills split a pair of games with Pulaski Academy on Friday. The PA boys came into the game winless in league play, and left the same way after a 54-36 Bears’ win.

The PA girls were undefeated, and though given a tough time by the Lady Bears, also left with a perfect league mark, winning in their game in Sherwood 51-45.

In the boys’ game, Sylvan Hills’ wide zone defense troubled the Bruins’ shooters, while Bear post players controlled the lane.

Sylvan Hills held PA to just six points in the first quarter and jumped out to a quick double-digit lead. From that point, the Bears were content to play at PA’s deliberate pace while continuing to play strong defense.

The Bears’ led 24-15 at halftime, and 37-24 at the end of the third quarter. Sylvan Hills held Tra Johnson, PA’s leading scorer, to just seven points.

Meanwhile three Bears’ scored in double figures, led by junior guard Telah Wade’s 15 points. JacobĂ© Davis added 11 and Jamal Johnson came off the bench to score 10 points and added nine rebounds.

The Bears (15-5, 4-4) showed a marked improvement on the boards from its last game, when they were outrebounded 43-20 by Jacksonville. On Friday, the Bears dominated on the boards, grabbing 27 rebounds to just 14 for the Bruins.

Sylvan Hills’ perimeter defense frustrated Bruin shooters into just 4 of 17 shooting from 3-point range. The visitors were all uncharacteristically bad at the foul line, making just 8 of 16 free-throw attempts.

Even though the Bears’ 5A/6A-Central Conference mark is 4-4, they are 4-1 against teams that will count towards seeding in the conference tournament, which is an entirely different group of teams that make up regular-season conference play.

Sylvan Hills trails only Parkview in the standings that count for something.

The loss drops the Bruins to 5-14 overall and 0-8 in league play.

In the girls’ game, the odd quarters belonged to PA while the even ones to Sylvan Hills. The Lady Bruins opened by outscoring their host 16-7 in the first quarter, but the Lady Bears came back to outscore PA 16-9 in the second.

After Pulaski Academy (21-1, 8-0) won the third quarter 14-8, Sylvan Hills needed the Lady Bruins to miss some free throws in the fourth, and that didn’t happen.

Sylvan Hills is now 12-8 overall and 4-4 in league play, but 2-3 against postseason tournament foes.

Sylvan Hills juniors Alana Canady and Jayla Bell each came close to recording double doubles. Canady scored 15 points and had nine rebounds, while Bell had 14 points and nine rebounds.

Morgan Wallace did record a double-double. She led PA with 17 points and 13 rebounds while Mattie Hatcher added 16 points for the Lady Bruins, who have now won 21-straight games since losing their season opener.

Sylvan Hills hosted Jacksonville last night after Leader deadlines. The Bears and Titans played each other just a week ago, with the JHS boys and SHHS girls winning on Jan. 24.

Look for details of Tuesday’s games in Saturday’s edition of The Leader.

Sylvan Hills will host J.A. Fair on Friday.