Leader Blues

Friday, January 12, 2007

SPORTS >>Lady Badgers dismantle 'Jackets

IN SHORT: The Beebe ladies picked up an important road win in the 5A-East by beating Wynne Tuesday night.

By JASON KING
Leader sports writer

After a disappointing conference-opening loss last Friday to Greene County Tech, the Beebe Lady Badgers bounced back on Tuesday with a 59-41 road victory over Wynne. The Lady Badgers led the entire way in the contest, with strong runs in the first and third quarters to negate the second and fourth quarters in which the Lady Yellowjackets controlled.

The Lady Badgers shot well from the floor the entire game, but it would be Wynne turnovers that would make the biggest difference in the game. The sophomore duo of Neshia Upchurch and Ty O’Neil came up with 10 combined steals, with each player picking the Wynne ball handlers five times.

Those steals were converted into quick points for Beebe, allowing the Lady Badgers to run their advantage up to 53-29 heading into the fourth quarter.

“We were able to convert a lot of steals,” Lady Badgers coach Lara Jackson said. “We managed our breaks well, and got a lot of quick baskets.”

Jackson said after last Friday’s somewhat flat performance, she was pleased to see her team renew the sense of urgency they possessed during the Christmas tourney.

“The intensity picked up for sure,” Jackson said. “They started to feed off of each other, and once they got rolling, we got into a decent rhythm. Once they start feeding off that intensity and get momentum, it doesn’t seem to drop much.”

The Lady Badgers outscored Wynne 20-9 in the pivotal third quarter. The Lady Yellowjackets had trailed 33-20 at the half, but the big run from Beebe in the third proved to be too much for them to rally from. Wynne made up six points of the deficit in the final frame against a mostly-subbed Beebe team, but it would be far from enough.

O’Neil led all scorers in the game with 15 points. Senior Tristan Rettig added 14 points, and Ashley Watkins finished with 13 points. O’Neil also added five steals and five assists to her totals, and Upchurch was a perfect four for four from the free-throw line.

The Lady Badgers shot well from the charity stripe as a team, going 11 for 13. The rebounding for the team was spread fairly evenly among the five starters.

The win gives the Lady Badgers an overall record of 5-7, and puts their league record at 1-1.

The Badgers were not as fortunate on Tuesday, falling 56-39 to the Yellowjackets. Beebe kept things close during the first half, trailing 29-25 at the intermission. Things would go south for the Badgers in the second half, as Wynne slowly pulled away during the final two quarters to take the win.

“We’re good for about 20 of the 32 minutes right now,” Badgers coach Chris Ellis said. “It’s a product of having young athletes. We’re not as strong or as big as a lot of the teams in this conference.

“We’ve made slow improvements every game, but unfortunately, the scoreboard doesn’t reflect slight improvements. Basketball is a bottom-line business; either you win or you lose, none of that other stuff matters.”

Zack Kersey led the Badgers in scoring with 12 points. Charlie Spakes added 11 points, and senior Jordan Geirach finished with 10 points.

The loss moves the Badgers’ record to 3-9 overall and 0-2 in the 5A-East Conference.

The Beebe teams played at Nettleton last night, and will take next Tuesday off before taking on Paragould at home next Friday.