Tuesday, November 21, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Bears take trophy

Special to The Leader

The Sylvan Hills Lady Bears won the championship Saturday at the Joe T. Robinson annual girls basketball tournament. The Lady Bears defeated the Caddo Hills Lady Indians by a score of 52-49 in the final. They had defeated Mills 73-27 in the opening round and Bald Knob 57-25 in the second. Bald Knob placed third in the tournament, defeating Conway Christian 51-43.

The Lady Indians (6-4) led by four at the end of the first period and by two at intermission, but Sylvan Hills (3-0) won the second half, outscoring Caddo Hills 17-12 to overcome the deficit and win the contest.

“I thought it was a good game,” said Sylvan Hills coach Shelley Davis. “I thought Caddo Hills played very hard. To have such little people, they missed no free throws the first half and maybe two threes. They were on fire. We struggled defending it, but I was proud of the team for coming back and eventually catching up. Our guards played well. They did a great job, but it bounced in our favor in the end. We had too many turnovers, and just missed opportunities. But, all this is right now a learning opportunity for them to get better, so hopefully they will.”

Lainie Ballard got the Lady Bears on the board first with a baseline 2-pointer plus one free throw. Gracie Wisener answered with a two for Caddo Hills, but Jayla Bell sank a 3-point basket to give Sylvan Hills a 6-2 advantage.

A three and a two gave the Lady Indians the 7-6 edge before Alana Canady hit a 2-pointer from the free throw line. The lead then changed hands three times before Wraylin Phillips connected on a three from the corner at the buzzer to give Caddo Hills the 14-10 lead at the end of the first period.

The Lady Bears scored 25 in the second frame to their opponents 23 to cut the lead to two at the half. Canady opened the quarter with a 3-point basket for Sylvan Hills, but the Lady Indians extended their lead to 21-14. Bell connected on a 3-pointer from the baseline on a baseline inbounds play for Sylvan Hills.

The teams traded back-and-forth, but since two of the Caddo Hills scores were 3-point baskets, the lead grew to eight.

Two consecutive turnovers by the Lady Indians and 3-pointers by Ballard and Olivia Wilkins brought the Lady Bears to within one. Two free throws by Caddo Hills stretched the lead back to three, but Ballard tied the score at 35-35 with her second three.

The Lady Indians scored once more to take the 2-point halftime advantage.

Sylvan Hills cut into the lead by another point in the third period, outscoring the Lady Indians 9-8. Andrea Dolphin started the quarter with a layup, Ballard sank her third three and a pair of free throws, and KJ Johnson had a score under the basket. The score at the end of three quarters was 45-44.

The Lady Indians added a free throw for a 2-point edge to begin the fourth, but Canady tied the score with a layup following a Caddo Hills turnover.

Again, the Lady Indians went ahead by a free throw, and again Canady scored two, this time to give Sylvan Hills the lead. Canady then had a block to give her team the ball back, and Aaliyah Bynum scored under the basket.

Rachel Dumont responded for the last 2-point basket for the Lady Indians. After a Caddo Hills foul, Bell made the final 3-point spread with two free throws, and the final score was set at 52-49.

Ballard led Sylvan Hills in scoring with 16 points. Canady was next with 13, and then Bell with 10 points.

Taylor Allen led the Lady Indians with 10 points. Scoring was balanced as the next five scorers had 9, 8, 7, 6, and 5 points.

The Lady Bears were 9 of 13 from the free throw line, while Caddo Hills was 11 of 18. Sylvan Hills outrebounded the Lady Indians by one, while turning the ball over 12 times to 10 for Caddo Hills.