Tuesday, February 21, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Sylvan Hills girls close with crucial victory

Special to The Leader

The Sylvan Hills Lady Bears traveled to Little Rock Friday night for a 55-53 victory over the Little Rock Christian Academy Lady Warriors in the last regular season game.

It was an important game for conference tournament seeding purposes, and gave the Lady Bears the number three seed in the next weeks event in Maumelle.

The loss gives the Lady Warriors the number five seed. Sylvan Hills finished the regular season with a record of 17-9 overall, 9-5 in conference play, and will have played Mills on Tuesday in the tournaments opening round. Parkview and Pulaski Academy are seeded one and two, and Beebe fourth.

The opening quarter was close throughout, with Sylvan Hills holding a 1-point edge at the end. The lead stretched to six at the half, and ten at the end of three quarters.

Little Rock Christian went on a run in the final quarter, even taking a 1-point lead before the Lady Bears took the lead back with a 2-pointer and set the final with a free throw.

“Our main objective was to cut our turnovers in half,” said Sylvan Hills coach Shelley Davis. “We came into this game, and we had four turnovers in three quarters, or maybe three. So we were really proud of that. We came back out in the fourth quarter and went from a 14-point spread to a 3-point game because we had four or five turnovers right there in a row. Turnovers have been probably the most inconsistent with our young team, that we just can’t seem to calm down. So, I was proud of them for that. I thought they did better tonight. We had eight turnovers tonight, but it’s better than 22, and that’s what we had at Little Rock Hall. I think they are getting better, and it’s the right time of the year to get better.”

Adrianne Chambers started the game scoring with a pair from the line for the Lady Warriors. Jayla Bell answered with a 3-point basket for Sylvan Hills, followed by a lay-up by Aaliyah Bynum as the Lady Bears broke the Little Rock Christian press.

Chambers scored twice more, but Bell had an offensive rebound put back to give Sylvan Hills the 7-6 lead halfway through the opening quarter. Aspyn Satterwhite gave the lead back to the Lady Warriors with a three, but Bell sank two free throws to tie. Andrea Dolphin scored on a transition layup for the Lady Bears, was fouled, and sank the and-one free throw.

Bynum scored again, and Bell hit a 3-pointer for the last points of the period. Satterwhite had sunk another 3-point basket for Little Rock Christian, and the score was 17-16 Sylvan Hills at the end of one.

The Lady Bears outscored the home team 9-2 to start the second frame. The Lady Warriors then scored a two, but Mallory Kimble scored a layup for Sylvan Hills. Raegan Bradley scored in the lane for Little Rock Christian, but the Lady Bears led 28-22 at the half.

Again, Sylvan Hills came out strong in the third, scoring the first seven points. Alana Canady started the scoring with a driving layup, and Kimble scored a layup on a run-out the length of the floor and added the plus-one free throw. The lead grew to 14 at one point, but a couple of 3-point baskets by the Lady Warriors helped cut the lead to 44-34 at the end of the third quarter.

Bradley cut it to eight with a two, Canady had an old-fashioned 3-point play for Sylvan Hills, but a steal and layup by Satterwhite and another two by Bradley cut the lead to seven points. After a Canady free throw, Bradley scored again, Satterwhite sank another three and the lead was only three at 48-45.

Canady scored under the basket, but a score by Jaylen McGowen and a three by Bradley tied the score at 50-50 at just over the four-minute mark. Lainie Ballard rebounded her own miss and scored for the Lady Bears, but Satterwhite gave Little Rock Christian the lead with another 3-pointer. Canady got the lead back for Sylvan Hills with a floater in the lane.

On the ensuing Lady Warrior possession, the ball was tied up by the Lady Bear defense to get the ball back. Kimble was fouled and sank one of the double bonus free throws to set the final score of 55-53.

Little Rock Christian had one more shot from the corner, but it fell short.
Bell, Bynum and Canady each had 12 points for Sylvan Hills, and Kimble added 11. Satterwhite and Bradley each scored 14 for the Lady Warriors, while Chambers had 12 points.