SPORTS >>Beebe cruises in first round
Leader sports editor
The Beebe Badgers took advantage of a shorthanded and seemingly unorganized Carlisle team to hammer the Bison 81-41 on Thursday night in the closing game of the first round of the Badger Christmas Classic at Beebe High School. Twelve Badgers got on the scoreboard against a Carlisle team that refused to stop running, even though Beebe was beating the Bison easily at their own game.
Carlisle stayed close for about half the first quarter with nothing but superior quickness and spot-on shooting, even in contorted positions while hanging in mid-air.
The all-out freestyle blitz, though, couldn’t hold up to Beebe’s systematic pressure. While the Bison occasionally dazzled the crowd with acrobatic shots, the Badgers consistently forced turnovers, and turned them into points.
Beebe perhaps got too caught up in the moment in the first quarter and missed some chances to put Carlisle away very early, but nothing was in doubt by the midway point of the second quarter.
The Badgers led 21-8 after one, and 50-26 at halftime, although they got stuck at 47 for nearly three minutes until senior Charlie Spakes hit a three pointer at the buzzer to end the half.
Almost half of Beebe’s point total came off second, third and fourth chance shots. Carlisle, which only brought seven players to the opening round game, didn’t box out anyone the entire game, while the Badgers crashed the boards hard.
The final rebound tally favored Beebe by a margin of 49-15.
Four of the 12 Badgers who scored finished in double figures. Zach Kersey came off the bench to lead the team with 16 points. Charlie Spakes scored 13, Anthony Forte added 11 and Donte Myles scored 10 for the Badgers.
Spakes also had eight rebounds, four assists and four steals.
Brett Difanie came off the bench for six points and nine rebounds.
The Lady Badgers also had a relatively easy time with Riverview in their opening game. The Beebe ladies beat Riverview 58-36 after battling to 19-15 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Lady Badgers came out with all-out defensive pressure, but the Lady Raiders handled it well. A few adjustments between periods and Beebe controlled the action the rest of the way.
“I was pleased with how we executed our pressure defenses,” Lady Badger coach Lora Jackson said. “Riverview did a good job of handling it at first, but we did a good job of adjusting to that and pulled away from them.”
The contest wasn’t completely in hand until a quick burst early in the fourth quarter turned a modest 13-point lead into 20 and more.
Junior point guard Ty O’Neil was the only player for either team in double figures. She finished with 15 points, four assists and four steals.
Bailey Thomas and Audre Renneker scored eight apiece, with Thomas adding six rebounds and four steals to her total. Ashley Watkins and Neshia Upchurch added seven points each for Beebe, who improved to 7-2 overall with the win. Riverview dropped to 3-7.
In other Badger Christmas Classic first-round games, Star City’s girls beat Harding Academy 37-34, Star City’s Bulldogs beat White Hall’s Bulldogs 65-50, Carlisle girls hammered Newport 56-27, Lonoke handled Harding Academy’s boys 67-44, Lonoke’s girls beat White Hall 41-27 and Newport’s boys survived Riverview 53-51.
Look for details of the final rounds of the Badger Christmas Classic in Wednesday’s edition of The Leader.