SPORTS >> Beebe girls rise to 3-0 with victory
Leader sports writer
The Beebe Lady Badgers made it three straight AAAA-East conference wins on Friday night at the Badger Sports Arena, holding off a stubborn Nettleton Lady Raiders team 41-36.
After winning only two of their first 12 games in the non-conference season, the Lady Badgers have gone from struggling to sparkling by winning their first three conference matchups of the season.
“I think we have just come together and started playing well,” Lady Badgers head coach Lora Jackson said. “We played well in our Christmas tournament.
“ We have played some really good competition, and that has really helped us see the things we need to work on. They are a great group of girls. They really like to be around one another, and all that counts.”
Emily Bass kept Beebe in the lead in the early going, scoring nine of the Lady Badgers’ 10 points in the first quarter. Bass ended with 10 points on the night, with her strong run in the opening making up the bulk of her scoring.
Beebe maintained its advantage in the low-scoring second frame, leading the Lady Raiders 16-13 at the half.
Things heated up in the second half, as both squads settled down and began to execute better shooting. Nettleton briefly took the lead at the 4:21 mark of the third quarter off a three-point shot from Lindsay Farris to make the score 21-20. The Lady Badgers quickly rallied with five-straight points from sophomore Ashley Watkins, and Beebe was on top once again 28-26 by the end of the third.
Another mid-quarter rally from the Lady Raiders tied the score at 32-32 with 4:06 left in the game, setting up a late-game shootout. Beebe led 37-35 with less than a minute remaining when Nikki Sietz missed the second of two free throws.
Bass made the game-saving move for the Lady Badgers, pulling down the rebound and getting the ball to Watkins. Watkins hit a layup and was fouled by Megan Simpson. Watkins added the free throw, sealing the game.
“We didn’t shoot the ball very well at all,” Jackson said.
“We had a lot of good looks at the basket, we just couldn’t get them to drop. We came up with some big rebounds off some shots that they missed that we had to have, and we did a good job at the tail end taking care of it off the press.”
Watkins led the Lady Badgers with 15 points, going 5 of 10 from the free-throw line. Bass added 10 points for Beebe, making the sophomore duo the standouts for the Lady Badgers in every game since the start of the conference season. Ferris led Nettleton with 20 points.
The Badger boys were not as fortunate on Friday, falling to Nettleton 62-54. Beebe kept the game fairly close through the entire contest, but could never overcome a 28-21 halftime deficit. The Badgers held a brief 14-11 at the beginning of the second quarter.
The closest Beebe came in the second half was at the 2:37 mark of the third quarter, when a Rogers McAffee jumper narrowed the Raiders’ lead to 36-32. It took less than a minute for Nettleton to stretch the lead back out to nine points, and the Raiders never looked back..
The biggest factor in the game was a perfect 18 of 18 at the foul line for Nettleton, while the Badgers made nine of their 13 attempts from the charity stripe.
“We’ve struggled scoring sometimes,” Beebe boys coach Chris Ellis said.
“But tonight, we struggled defensively. We gave up too many easy shots.”
Junior Charlie Spakes led the Badgers in scoring with 17 points, while Jordan Gierach added 12 points for Beebe. Matt Mouzy led Nettleton with 22 points on the night.
The Beebe teams were off on Tuesday night, but will return to action Friday on the road at Paragould.