Leader Blues

Monday, November 26, 2007

SPORTS >>Vilonia sweeps Beebe in pair of close contests

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

Vilonia completed a sweep over both Beebe teams Tuesday night at Badger Sports Arena, but didn’t have an easy time in either game. The Eagles outlasted a furious charge from the Badgers in the final minute to pull out a 50-48 win, while the Lady Eagles held off a stubborn Lady Badgers team to end up with a 62-50 victory to hand the hosts their first loss of the season.

The officials proved consistent throughout the night with a total of 15 traveling violations called during the final game, none of which was more damaging to the Badgers than the one called on junior guard Zack Kersey with 19 seconds left to play after a three-pointer by Will Scott pulled Beebe to within one score at 48-46. A pair of free throws by Vilonia in the final 10 seconds secured the win, with a last second shot by Kersey setting the final score.

The Eagles got their first lead of the game at the 5:46 mark of the first quarter with a jumper and foul shot from post player Cody Wood. Clayton Clements answered a Beebe basket by Antony Forte with a three-point shot that extended Vilonia’s lead to 7-4 with 4:02 left in the opening quarter, and a Wood jumper off a steal gave the Eagles a 9-4 advantage.

Vilonia led 15-9 at the end of the first quarter, but the Badgers came out stronger in the opening minutes of the second frame.

Kersey started things off for Beebe with a transition shot that pulled the Badgers to within four, and senior Charlie Spakes followed that with a steal and coast-to-coast shot to make it 15-13. He also drew a foul on the play, but could not convert the free throw to make a one point game.

The Eagles came back with two unanswered baskets by Jordan Riley and Clements, increasing Vilonia’s lead back to five at 19-14. The offense stalled for Beebe from there, with baskets from Kersey and Jordan Gierach making up the only points for the Badgers in the final 6:30 of the first half.

Another early run by the Badgers to start out the second half erased Vilonia’s 24-18 halftime lead down to only a 26-23 lead by the 4:39 mark of the third quarter. Kersey erased half of the deficit with a three pointer in the first minute, and added a free throw along with a charity shot by Gierach to pull within three, but the Eagles finally broke a five-minute scoreless streak with an inside shot from Clements at the 2:58 mark.

Scott added his second shot beyond the arc with 1:17 left in the third quarter to make it a two-point game, but a shot by Riley for Vilonia in the final seconds made it 32-28 heading into the final eight minutes.

Scott launched his third three-point shot with 19 seconds left in the game to cap off a Beebe run that started with an old-fashioned three-point play by Kersey with 4:54 remaining, and proceeded through a 18-9 Badger run in the final half of the last period.

The miracle chance Beebe had been waiting for when Riley’s inbound pass for Vilonia went out of bounds, giving the Badgers possession at mid court with 19 seconds still left. Kersey took the inbound pass and drove into the lane, but used too much extra foot movement for the officials’ liking.

Kersey led the Badgers with 12 points. Gierach added 10 points for Beebe, and late surges by Scott and Dante Miles left them with totals of nine points and eight points respectively. For Vilonia, Riley led all scorers with 13 points, while Clements added 11 points for the Eagles. The Badgers are now 2-1 on the season.

The Lady Badgers had plenty of solid offensive performances on Tuesday, including 20 points for junior standout Ty O’Neil, along with a 16 point performance from fellow junior Neshia Upchurch, but couldn’t shake the Lady Eagles’ dominating senior Amanda Curtis. Curtis finished with 24 points to lead the Lady Eagles.

The bulk of Upchurch’s points for Beebe came in the final quarter wtih a total of nine points, including a pair of three-point baskets. Senior Emily Bass had a solid offensive performance with eight points, but it was her total of four steals that kept the Lady Badgers in the game that was otherwise dominated by the Lady Eagles, particularly in the paint. The Lady Badgers are now 2-1 on the season.