Leader Blues

Thursday, December 14, 2006

SPORTS>> Rabbits take two from Beebe

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

A fourth quarter surge from the Lady Jackrabbits helped Lonoke secure a doubleheader sweep over Beebe Friday night at the Badger Sports Arena. The Lady ’Rabs trailed the Lady Badgers from the four-minute mark of the first quarter until four minutes left in the game, but were able to rally to take a 48-41 come-from-behind win.

The Jackrabbits dominated the Badgers in the boys contest 60-37 despite only scoring four points in the opening period.
The Badgers presented trouble for Lonoke in the first quarter with a strong defensive attack. The stiff defense from Beebe made the first quarter a low-scoring struggle, with the Badgers edging out to a 6-4 lead after the first eight minutes. The Jackrabbits were able to adjust to begin the second quarter, and took their first lead of the game with 3:16 left in the first half with a three-point shot from Sammy Coleman.

Coleman had tied the game moments earlier with an inside jumper to make it 14 all, after a pair of free throws from Stanley Staggers brought Lonoke to within two points. Coleman launched another three in the final 22 seconds of the quarter to give the Jackrabbits a 24-15 lead at the half. The game was still within reach for the Badgers at the start of the third quarter, but it would not be by the end of the frame. Lonoke outscored Beebe 19-12 in the period, and extended the lead further in the opening minutes of the final period to check out going away.

The Badgers came out strong to start the second half. Trey Smith scored the first basket of the third quarter for Beebe, and Jordan Geirach backed up his teammate’s score with a jumper of his own to close the gap to 24-19 with 6:12 left in the third quarter. The Jackrabbits put their advantage back into double-digits with 3:20 left in the third with an amazing shot from Staggers. As he headed to the goal, Staggers cleared his way to the left side of the paint with three direction fakes on the assembled Beebe defenders. His third move tricked Badgers’ post Geirach to the other side, and Staggers extended the ball just enough to make it sink. The shot gave Lonoke a 32-21 lead, and Coleman added a pair of free throws on the ’Rabbits’ next possession to extend the lead to 36-21.

The Beebe starters prevented a complete rout from Lonoke through most of the fourth quarter, keeping the deficit within twenty points. When both teams’ JV players took to the court in the final three minutes, however, the Jackrabbit subs added five more points to set the 23-point final margin. Coleman led all scorers with 15 points for Lonoke. Smith led the Badgers with 11 points; Geirach added nine points for Beebe. The win gives Lonoke a record of 6-3, and Beebe’s record went to 1-4 with the loss.

The girls contest was much closer. The Lady Badgers dominated the first three quarters on the game, but couldn’t stop a determined Lady ‘Rabbits squad in the late going. Beebe’s lead was as much as 18-7 in the first minute of the second quarter. Ty O’Neil put in a layup off a steal, and drew the foul from Kristy Shinn to make it a three-point play at the 7:03 mark for a nine-point Lady Badgers’ lead.

Lonoke slowly chipped away at the deficit, and finally got the lead with 4:42 left in the game with an inside jumper from freshman Asiah Scribner. Lonoke seniors Jenny Evans and Calisha Kirk used their size advantage to rack up 16 points each to lead Lonoke in scoring. Beebe sophomore Ty O’Neil led all scorers in the game with 22 points. “The girls played great down the stretch,” Lady ’Rabbits coach Nathan Morris said. “We talked about it all week, how this game is a good rivalry game for us. We wanted to get our record back to .500 with a win, and we were able to do that tonight.”

The win gives Lonoke a 5-5 record on the season. Beebe now has a 2-3 record with the loss. Lonoke will play Mountain View at home on Friday after opening the conference schedule on the road last night at Marianna. Beebe hosted Vilonia last night, and will play at Cabot on Friday.