SPORTS >> Local teams unblessed at MSM
Leader sports editor
Three area teams played in the first round of the Heavenly Hoops Basketball Classic at the UALR fieldhouse Monday, and all three lost their opening games.
North Pulaski was the first to fall, losing 55-41 to Russellville. Sylvan Hills made their game exciting towards the end, but ultimately fell 65-55 to El Dorado.
Jacksonville played the late game against the host team, and lost big 56-30.
North Pulaski coach Katrina Mimms took an already injury-riddled team to the tournament, and it only got worse as the game went on.
Two key players missed the game with injuries, another played at less than 100 percent, starting post player Maria Livings went down with an ankle injury in the second half.
Russellville moved out to a double-digit lead in the second quarter, but never put the game entirely away.
After the lead grew to its largest at 16 points at the start of the fourth quarter, the Lady Falcons put together a small run that cut the lead to nine.
It was then that Livings went down, and that’s when the rally ended.
Mimms wasn’t using that as an excuse for the loss.
“The main thing is that they outplayed us,” Mimms said. “They were passing us up and down the floor. That’s what was most frustrating because we have more speed than they do. They shouldn’t have been beating us down the court, but they were.”
Sylvan Hills was down by as much as 12 when it began a furious comeback. The Lady Bears cut El Dorado’s lead to two in the final period, and had a chance to tie it with two free throws.
Neither foul shot would fall, nor did the stickback attempt after Sylvan Hills got the rebound. The Lady Wildcats got the second rebound and was fouled. The lead shot back up to eight points in just a few seconds and stayed near than margin for the remainder of the game.
Sylvan Hills coach Bee Rodden wasn’t upset with her team’s effort, just its execution.
“We played hard,” Rodden said.
“I’m not going to complain about that. We just didn’t do some things very well. We have some good guards that can get up and down the floor, but there’s also a time when they have to slow it down and execute in half court. We didn’t do that real well all the time. My main concern though is rebounding. Now El Dorado had bigger bodies than we did, but we didn’t block out well and gave them too many second-chance points. If I can keep getting good effort though, we’ll get some of that other stuff taken care of.”
The other first-round game featured to AAAAA heavyweights, and it was Watson Chapel that came out on top of Forrest City 35-34.
Sylvan Hills will play North Pulaski to open the second round of play at 4 p.m. today. Jack-sonville will face Forrest City at 5:30 p.m.. In the winners’ bracket, MSM will face Chapel at 7 p.m. and Russellville will take on El Dorado in the late game at 8:30 p.m.