Friday, February 24, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Beebe takes down LRCA

Leader sports editor

The Beebe Lady Badgers drew the dreaded four seed, but survived its first-round matchup in the 5A-Central District tournament to advance to next week’s state tournament in Magnolia.

The Lady Badgers didn’t get the slow, deliberate, defense-oriented pace they usually prefer, but they got the win nonetheless. Beebe gave up the second-most points it has all season, but countered that with its own highest point total, beating the Lady Warriors 64-53 Wednesday in Maumelle.

With the top three seeds in the tournament getting relatively easy first-round matches, the four vs. five game was the only intrigue in the first round as far as determining who will qualify for the 5A state tournament.

Beebe had faced LRCA (18-10) once before, and won a close game in the Beebe Christmas Classic back in December.

Wednesday’s game was also close throughout the first half. The Lady Badgers led just 21-20 at intermission, but outscored the Warriors 19-12 in the third period, and then posted 24 points in the fourth to win that quarter by three.

The 43 second-half points by Beebe was more than it had scored in nine other complete games.

Katie Turner, who missed the first two months of the season, led the Lady Badgers with 20 points. Libbie Hill added 17 and Marianna Richey scored 11.

“It was a tough game, but this marks the sixth year in a row that we’re going to the state tournament,” said Beebe coach Greg Richey.

Beebe (20-10) played a similar game against No. 1 seed Pulaski Academy in the second round on Thursday, but was on the opposite end of things.

The Lady Badgers were tied with the 28-2 Bruins at halftime, but gave up an 11-2 run to open the third quarter and eventually lost 50-36.

PA’s Morgan Wallace led the charge, and finished with a game high 21 points. Hill scored 13 for Beebe while Richey had 10.

The Beebe boys’ season ended Wednesday with a 54-36 loss to J.A. Fair. The War Eagles’ size was too much for the 14-13 Badgers.

There was no point in the game when Fair (17-11) went on a big run and put the game away. It was the gradual domination of the 6-foot-8 and 6-6 Bankston brothers, who controlled the middle against the Badgers, whose tallest player is 6-3.

The 6-8 Kris Bankston almost had a triple-double. He finished with 20 points, nine rebounds and nine blocked shots. Kris Bankston had 12 points and six rebounds. Khyron Gilbert, a 6-2 guard, added 10 points for the War Eagles.

Almost all of the Badgers’ points came from two players. K.J. O’Neill led Beebe with 17 points while Brad Worthington added 16.