Friday, January 13, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Hillside comes back at J.A. Fair

Leader sports editor

The Sylvan Hills Bears lost for just the second time this year and the first time in league play on Tuesday, but bounced back with a nice win on Wednesday in a makeup game from last Friday.

The Bears almost overcame a 17-point third-quarter deficit cutting the margin to five in the fourth, but lost 85-71 to the Hornets.

On Wednesday, in a much different kind of game, the Bears prevailed at J.A. Fair 57-50.

In Tuesday’s game, the taller, deeper and more athletic Hornets (14-2, 2-0) appeared on the verge of blowing the Bears away on two occasions, but the home team battled back both times. The first came in the middle of the second quarter when a 10-0 run turned a one-point deficitinto a 37-28 Maumelle lead with 1:24 left in the half.

But the Bears responded with an 8-2 run, starting with a baseline drive by Justin Glasco with 1:06 left in the first half.

Maumelle then threw the ball away, and Sylvan Hills post player Alex Curry converted a 3-point play with 52 seconds left. Quan Richardson got an offensive rebound for Maumelle, but Taleh Wade did the same for the Bears at the buzzer, and was fouled.

His free throw made it 39-36 as the teams headed to the locker room.

The Hornets opened the second half with heavy ball pressure the length of the court, and Sylvan Hills didn’t handle it well for the first few minutes.

The Bears only committed 13 turnovers in the game, but six of them came in that four-minute stretch as the Hornets built a 57-40 lead with 3:51 to play in the third quarter.

Sylvan Hills coach Kevin Davis called his first timeout at that point, and his team began chipping away at the deficit. Guard Jacobé Davis and post player Jordan Washington combined for 12 points in the last three minutes of the third, and led the Bears to within 63-52 by the start of the fourth period.

Maumelle continued its harassing defense, but wasn’t creating turnovers any longer. The Bears only had one the entire fourth quarter. The Hornets were, however, getting to the free-throw line, and they were making the most of it.

Sylvan Hills was within 68-59 with 5:38 to go, and all of Maumelle’s fourth-quarter points came at the foul line.

Maumelle got the ball after the timeout, but Jacobé Davis got a steal and Zion Butler scored in transition to make it 68-61. Pat Greene scored Maumelle’s first field goal of the fourth for a 70-61 lead with 4:55 lead. Jamal Johnson got a putback for the Bears, and Washington blocked Tremont Robinson’s shot at the other end. Jacobé then scored to make it 70-65 with 3:55 to play.

Maumelle went to the line on its next possession and hit 1 of 2 attempts for a six-point lead. Sylvan Hills’ Daylon Raynor was then knocked to the floor at midcourt with no call, and the Hornets’ Darius Tate scored after scooping up the loose ball.

On the Bears’ next possession, Butler missed from outside. Tate also missed for Maumelle at the other end, but Greene got away with shoving Washington in the back for the offensive rebound, and he was fouled.

Greene made both foul shots to stretch the lead back to 10, and the Bears were never closer than nine the rest of the way.

Maumelle made 16 of 21 free throws in the final period.

“I’m not blaming the loss on the officials,” said Kevin Davis. “But those two calls, or no calls rather, after we got it to five or six points, those were huge. Daylon just got flattened out there right in the open court and they don’t call that? Then Jordan gets knocked to the ground and they score there after we had a stop. After that, I think we were a little tired and that kind of took the wind out of us. After battling back a quarter and a half to get it to five, and just like that it’s 10 again.”

Robinson led all scorers with 25 points while Greene added 14. Richardson had 11 for Maumelle and Lucas Li came off the bench to contribute 10.

Three Bears were in double figures. Davis had 19, Wade 16 and Washington 10.

The Bears were 19 of 32 from the free-throw line while Maumelle made 26 of 33.

The foul shooting wasn’t very good for three quarters on Wednesday against J.A. Fair. But outside shooting was outstanding and the Bears made 15 of 19 from the line in the fourth quarter to preserve that victory.

Kevin Davis was worried about leg weariness playing the day after such a fast-placed and physical team like Maumelle, but the War Eagles’ more deliberate tempo boded well for Sylvan Hills.

The Bears made seven 3-pointers, including four by Raynor, who feasted on Fair’s 2-3 zone. Sylvan Hills built a 38-30 lead by the end of the third, and Fair was forced to switch to man defense to keep Sylvan Hills from running out the clock.

When the Eagles’ had to start fouling, the Bears finally came through at the line.

Jacobé Davis again had 19 points and Wade finished with 17. Raynor finished with 14 for the Bears.

Sylvan Hills (13-2, 2-1) played Parkview Friday night after Leader deadlines. Look for details of that game in Wednesday’s edition of The Leader.