Friday, February 17, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Badger win streak ends at five

By ANN THARPSpecial to The Leader

The Beebe basketball teams got a split on the road Tuesday at Morrilton. The Lady Badgers dominated early and picked up a 55-44 win, while the boys’ saw their five-game winning streak snapped by the conference champion Devil Dogs, 52-48.

The Badgers boys couldn’t quite make it six straight wins. Beebe is still in second place, tied with Greenbrier, with a conference record of 7-4. The Badgers are 13-11 overall.

Beebe started well, and led by nine at one point in the first quarter, but Morrilton came back to tie the game at the end of the period. The Devil Dogs then led by three at the half, by five at the end of three, and held on for the four point final margin.

“It was a hard fought game,” said Beebe coach Ryan Marshall. “I thought we came out really sluggish, kind of not very focused coming out at half. But, we fought back. I thought we competed very well. Morrilton’s obviously got a very good ball club. For the most part, I was proud of our effort, and proud of the way we competed. We just weren’t as sharp as we needed to be at this time of year.”

Brad Worthington scored first to give Beebe the 2-0 lead, but Keiondre Jefferson tied the game for Morrilton. K.J. O’Neill hit a three and a 2-point basket, Worthington scored twice from inside, and the Badgers had an 11-2 lead.

Oshae Erby answered with a 3-pointer and an offensive rebound put back, and Xavier Wright two layups to tie the score at 11-11. Grant Jackson scored from the lane for Beebe, but Wright hit a 2-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game again at the quarters’ end.

Grant Brown hit two 3-point baskets for the Badgers at the beginning of the second frame, but the Devil Dogs went ahead by two on a layup by Jefferson. Worthington had a couple of baskets for Beebe, but a free throw by Morrilton ended the scoring in the second quarter and gave them a 28-25 advantage.

It was almost halfway through the third period before either team could score. It was Juwan Moore with a tip-in for the Devil Dogs to start a six point run for a nine-point spread. After a free throw by Jackson, Morrilton scored four more for a 38-26 lead.

Worthington scored from the lane for the Badgers, and then Jefferson was fouled and went to the line for Morrilton. However, he was called for a technical foul on the play, and as he missed both of his free throws, O’Neill sank the two technical free throws for Beebe. Then on the ensuing possession for the Badgers, O’Neill nailed a 3-pointer from the corner to cut the lead to 38-33 with three quarters in the book.

A Devil Dog layup scored two to start the final period, but a drive and floater in the lane by O’Neill, and both ends of a one and one by Jackson brought the lead back to three points.

Morrilton went ahead 46-40, but Worthington hit a pair of free throws. The Devil Dogs went 2 of 6 from the line, and then Zeke Reddig scored a two for Beebe. Two free throws by D’Andre Butler cut the lead to two with 0:40.7 on the clock.

The Badgers were forced to foul, and one of the double bonus free throws went in. Beebe’s shot on the other end was blocked, and another free throw was scored for Morrilton.

O’Neill hit a 2-point basket to cut the lead to 50-48 with 6.8 seconds remaining. On the inbounds, a technical foul was called on Beebe for touching the ball out of bounds as opposed to a delay of game for a Devil Dog stepping over the line. The resulting two made free throws set the final at 52-48.

O’Neill and Worthington each had 16 points for Beebe, Jackson scored seven points, and Brown six. Wright led Morrilton with 14 points.

The Lady Badgers were in control from the opening tip of their 55-44 win. They didn’t allow a single point as they built a 15-0 lead in the first quarter.

They took a 27-6 lead into halftime before head coach Greg Richey let his bench do most of the work in the second half.

Scoring was very balanced for Beebe. Katie Turner led the way with 13 points while Marianna Richey added 12. Libbie Hill and Hannah Camp each scored 11.