Leader Blues

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

SPORTS >>Beebe tops Clinton

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

The Badgers hung tough all night, and would eventually earn themselves a 2-0 record with a close 49-47 win over Clinton Friday night at The Badger Sports Arena. Beebe trailed most of the night, but a last-second steal and lay up by senior Charlie Spakes put the Badgers ahead when it counted the most.

Clinton ended up with the lead at the end of each frame, but the constant shift of momentum led to a number of lead changes throughout. For Beebe coach Brian Martin, it was a dramatic win in only his second game as head Badger.

“It was a game of runs,” Martin said. “The fourth quarter ended up being really close. They would have their run, and then we would get one. That was a big play by Charlie there at the end; sometimes you need some luck in close games like that.”

The first quarter ended in a near draw, with Clinton holding a 10-9 lead heading into the second frame. The Badgers faced their largest deficit of the game at a whopping three points heading into the intermission with Clinton leading 24-21.

Beebe closed that narrow gap in the third quarter. The Badgers’ shooting improved somewhat, but it was better work off the glass that helped set Beebe up for the momentum grabbing run in the final moments, along with better work in the lanes on the defensive side. Solid work inside by post players Dante Miles and Jordan Geirach kept Clinton from the bankers and lobs in the paint, as Spakes and junior guard Zach Kersey began to post what would become double digit scoring figures in the second half. The third quarter ended with Clinton still on top 36-35, setting up a final eight minute shoot out for the win.

The Badgers led by one point with less than thirty seconds remaining, when Geirach rebounded a missed Clinton shot, but was called for a travel. The senior posts’ protest of the call ended up with a technical, and Clinton made one of the freethrows to tie the game, but most importantly, they maintained possesion of the ball. They would inbound the ball at half court for one last shot at the win with less than seven seconds left to play.

Spakes, fresh off football season as the Badgers QB, proved that switching sports doesn’t always require an extended adjustment period. The senior read the Clinton inbounds perfectly, and his layup following the steal with two seconds remaining would seal the win to cap off an increadible performance for both teams.

“We struggled shooting from the perimeter, especially in the first half,” Martin said. “In the second half, we tried to win the battle in the lanes with them. We did a lot better job of attacking their defense in the second half. Defensively, we adjusted to keep them off the glass.”

Miles led the Badgers offensively with 16 points. Spakes and Kersey each added 10 points for Beebe. The Badgers are now 2-0 after a season-opening win against 4A contenders Heber Springs. The Lady Badgers also sport a 2-0 record with wins over Heber, and a double-overtime win against the Clinton ladies earlier Friday.

Beebe hosted Vilonia in a boys and girls varsity doubleheader last night after Leader deadlines.