SPORTS TOP STORY >> Lady Lions, Bears pick up wins
Leader sports writer
IN SHORT: The Sylvan Hills boys and Searcy girls won their respective AAAAA-East games Tuesday night at SHHS.
Sylvan Hills beat the Searcy Lions for the second time this season, 59-43 Tuesday night in Sherwood, and secured sole possession of fourth place in the AAAAA-East standings.
The Bears held Lions senior post player Chris Brown to only 16 points in the contest, one of his lowest totals all season. The Bears held off Searcy for the entire second half to claim the win.
“We had lost about three (games),” Syl-van Hills coach Kevin Davis said. “We knew coming back after the Moun-tain Home game we wanted to try to keep the winning ways. In this conference, we knew it was going to take a solid team effort.”
Searcy jumped out to the early lead with a three-point shot from Cody Wilmath, followed by a put-back from Brown to put them up 5-0 at the 5:26 mark of the first quarter.
The Bears came back quickly with shots from senior postman Robert Mc-Kinney and senior guard Victor Roy to pull within one less than a minute later.
U.S. Robinson made his first appearance in the game for Sylvan Hills with 2:17 left in the opening frame, and made his presence known immediately.
Robinson hit a jumper on the next Bears’ possession to tie the game at 8-8, then swished a three pointer moments later to give Sylvan Hills the lead. McKinney added two more points before the end of the quarter, giving the Bears a 13-8 lead after one.
Sylvan Hills slowly added to their lead in the second quarter, holding the momentum for the entire period. Another inside shot from McKinney with 42 seconds left in the half gave the Bears a double-digit lead for the first time in the contest at 27-17. Darrell Crenshaw added a three at the buzzer to give Sylvan Hills a 30-17 lead at the half.
The Lions reeled Sylvan Hills back in during the third quarter. Justin Rowden scored seven of his total 15 points in the third, narrowing the Bears’ lead to 34-31 by the 1:41 mark with a transition jumper inside. Michael Gross answered for Sylvan Hills with a three pointer, followed by basket from Tanner Arnold to increase the Bears lead once again to 39-31 heading into the final quarter.
Searcy attempted to speed up the game’s pace in the final frame, but the Bears matched them point-for-point. The Lions hurried their shots to try and make up the deficit, and the Bears patiently waited for the rebounds. Sylvan Hills out-rebounded Searcy 10-4 in the fourth, a stat that would prove to be the Lions downfall late. After the Bears entered the bonus with 2:36 left, they hit six of seven free-throws going away to secure the win.
“I thought the guys did an excellent job on Chris (Brown),” Davis said. “He is one heck of a player. Our outside defense was pretty good tonight, they made it pretty tough on them.”
Gross led the Bears with 17 points in the game, with McKinney adding 11 points and nine rebounds. Brown’s 16 points was tops for the Lions. The most suprising statistic of the night was Brown’s rebounding totals, which stood at only two at game’s end.
The win improves Sylvan Hills record to 12-10 overall and 5-5 in the AAAAA-East. The loss puts Searcy at 3-7 in the East conference.
The Lady Bears had a chance at beating Searcy on Tuesday night, leading by six, 45-39 with less than 10 seconds remaining in regulation. It wasn’t to be, however. Searcy came back to force overtime and rode that momentum in the extra period for a 50-46 victory.
Sylvan Hills did not count on Searcy’s unlikely hero, senior Felicia Graham. Graham had not seen court time all season until three games ago, but made the difference against Sylvan Hills when it counted the most.
Graham hit a three-point shot with four seconds remaining to cut the lead to three. Sylvan Hills had to simply inbound the ball and draw the foul to clinch it. A wild in-bounds pass from Shontaye Reed went two-thirds the distance of the court, and was picked by Graham, who drove across mid-court and banked in a 30-footer as time expired, forcing overtime.
The Lady Lions held onto the momentum in the extra-period, taking the 50-46 win in one of the biggest comebacks of the season.
Graham led the Lady Lions in scoring with 14 points, with junior standout Kallie Bartee adding 10 points. Crystal Maxwell led Sylvan Hills in the game with 18 points. The win gives Searcy sole possession of fourth place in the AAAAA-East standings, improving their conference record to 6-4 on the season. The loss takes the Lady Bears out of the top four, with an East record of 5-5.