SPORTS >>Bears finish sweep of Bombers
By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor
The Sylvan Hills Bears came from behind to knock off Mountain Home Tuesday night in a crucial 6A-East showdown. The conference standings are log-jammed in the middle and no team is anywhere close to being out of the race for the playoffs. That makes each win huge for every team, and made the Bears’ win over the Bombers important because it completes a season sweep, giving Sylvan Hills the advantage in case of a tiebreaker.
Mountain Home led by as much as eight points in the third quarter, after taking a 19-14 lead into halftime.
Sylvan Hills’ Lester Robinson then went on a tear. He outscored the Bombers 9-7 in the third quarter, and trimmed their eight-point lead to 26-23 by the start of the fourth quarter.
From that point, Tony Robinson took over, and did most of the damage for the Bears in the final frame.
Tony Robinson began finding his way through openings in Mountain Home’s zone, scoring with dribble penetration.
The Bears also picked up the intensity on defense, and began pressuring the Mountain Home ball handlers in the backcourt. That created a couple of transition buckets that pulled the Bears to within 32-30 with about two minutes left in the game.
From that point, Sylvan Hills drove the dagger into the Bombers’ hearts.
Still down two, Tony Robinson nailed a three pointer to put the Bears up 33-32 and gave them their first lead since 7-5 in the opening quarter. The Sylvan Hills defense then forced a turnover in the Mountain Home backcourt. On the ensuing possession, post player T.J. Shelton powered his way up for a bucket and a foul. He added the free throw to complete a six-point run that gave the Bears a 36-32 lead with less than a minute remaining.
“Every game has one or two plays that turn things, and that was the turning point for us,” Sylvan Hills coach Kevin Davis said. “We had some people make plays we needed to stay in it, and then we made those two big plays at the end to finish it off.”
Davis commended Lester Robinson for his efforts in the third quarter.
“He kept us there by himself almost,” Davis said. “He scored every one of our points in the third quarter. In the fourth, it was kind of like he just handed the torch to Tony, and he was able to create a little more with his dribble. It was a team effort.”
The game did include a quirky ending. The Bears were up 40-34 when Mountain Home was fouled while attempting its final shot. The whistle blew almost simultaneously with the buzzer that ended the game.
Mountain Home lobbied for two free throws because of the complexity of the league standings, and was granted them when the officials ruled that the whistle came before the buzzer.
The win lifts Sylvan Hills to 4-4 in conference play and 7-15 overall. Davis says he is proud of the turnaround his team has made since conference began.
“We lost to some teams that probably wouldn’t compete very well in this conference, but this team has shown some character,” Davis said. “Historically you look at our teams, and they’re kind of like a train, they take a little while to get rolling. This year has been my worst start since I’ve been here, but I stress to the kids that they’ve got a chance to also make it the biggest turnaround. We’re replacing 100 percent of our scoring from last year, and that takes a while to get everyone playing together. But it has taken some character to put the bad start behind them and keep playing hard.”
Lester Robinson led the Bears with 10 points, while the nine Tony Robinson scored in the fourth were also his total for the game.
Mountain Home’s Brandon Pfeifer led all scorers with 15 points.
Mountain Home fell to 9-14 and 3-6.
The Lady Bears started well. They led 13-12 early in the second quarter, but Mountain Home ripped off a 13-2 run to assume control in a 55-38 final.
Sylvan Hills stayed within 10 to 12 points for the next two quarters, but the Lady Bombers pulled away in the waning moments of the game.
Rochelle Dobbins scored 13 to lead Sylvan Hills while Brianna Austin added 11. The Lady Bears fell to 0-8 in league play while Mountain Home improved to 6-3.