Leader Blues

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

SPORTS >>Sylvan Hills closes tourney with win

By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

The Sylvan Hills ladies got their first win of the season Saturday in game three of the Mount St. Mary’s Heavenly Hoops Classic, beating North Pulaski 53-34. The Lady Bears led from the onset, and pulled away to a comfortable margin in the third quarter.

Sylvan Hills’ full-court pressure turned the tide at the start of the second half. North Pulaski struggled to break the press and turned the ball over, leading to several easy baskets and allowed the Lady Bears to extend their lead to 44-24 by the start of the final frame. They led 16-8 after one quarter of play and 27-18 at halftime. The tournament didn’t get off to a great start, but got better and better each game.

Sylvan Hills fell hard to Watson Chapel, losing 58-28, but played the game without two starters. One sat because of injury, the other for breaking a team rule. Things got a lot better in game two, but a win still eluded the team. Russellville slipped away with a 49-48 victory. The Russellville game started the same way the Chapel game did, with the Lady Bears falling behind early. The Lady Cyclones were hot from the floor and scored 23 points in the first quarter. Their 14-point lead at the start of the second period was down to 10 at 31-21 by halftime as Sylvan Hills tightened up the defense and executed better on offense.

The Lady Bears still couldn’t close the gap in the third, but rallied to make it a game in the final period. Russellville led 40-28 at the start of the fourth, but the Lady Bears cut the margin to three points with 2:30 left in the game. That’s when sophomore Trinity Thomas was hit with a technical foul. Russellville hit both free throws and scored on the subsequent possession to extend the lead back to seven points.

Still, the Lady Bears didn’t give up, they cut it back down to two points with less than a minute left, but the Lady Cyclones hit a big bucket with 10 seconds left to put the game out of reach. Sylvan Hills senior Rochelle Dobbins hit a long three pointer at the buzzer to set the final margin. Sylvan Hills coach Bee Rodden was not pleased with everything she saw in the tournament, but was pleased with the effort.

“We’ve still got a long way to go, but there was some improvement and they did play hard,” Rodden said. “We had opportunities to beat Russellville. They only scored nine points in the fourth quarter, and four of them were off the tech, so we’ve got to be smarter than that. We ran our offenses better and the press was good, so we have some things to build on.”
The Sylvan Hills boys and girls traveled to Pulaski Robinson last night after Leader deadlines. Look for details of those games in Friday’s edition of the Leader.