SPORTS >>Lady Lions ease past Wynne in first round
Leader sports writer
There were many surprises during the first round of the Searcy Bank Classic, but this was not one of them. The Searcy Lady Lions coasted to a 47-25 win over Wynne on Tuesday night at The Jungle to advance to the semifinal round of the annual tournament, and kept their early season record perfect at 7-0. The Lady Yellowjackets had virtually no answers for the strength of Searcy’s senior-dominated front five, as the Lady Lions held them to only nine points in the first half on their way to securing a massive 41-12 lead through three quarters of play.
Wynne led the first three minutes of the game, but once the Lady Lions got warmed up, the rout was on. A three pointer by guard Anna Minor at the 3:10 mark of the first quarter gave Searcy its first lead of the game at 9-6, and the Lady Lions would increase that lead with solid displays on both sides of the court. Defensively, they would only allow three points through the final 12 minutes of the first half, and increased their lead with a high-percentage performance under the Wynne basket.
Searcy added goals by Taylor Clark and Kristen Celsor before the end of the opening frame to take a 13-7 lead into the second quarter, and the period that followed was one of the most difficult of the early season for the now 1-1 Lady Yellowjackets.
Sophomore post Lauren Harrison started things off with an inside shot to increase Searcy’s lead to 16-7, and a steal by Clark led to another Celsor goal. Clark got the pick at mid court and fed to Celsor, who was all alone in the lane for the easy two. Celsor then hit another lay up at the 6:07 mark to put the Lady Lions ahead 20-7, and senior all-purpose player Shantel Neely finally got in on the action with a steal that she converted into points with 4:47 left in the first half.
The bleeding for Wynne continued until the 2:16 mark, when junior Tiffany Davis finally got the Lady ’Jackets on the board with a jumper that made it 26-9. Celsor answered that with a second-chance jumper in the paint, and nailed a free throw before the break to give the Lady Lions a 29-9 lead at half time.
The effortless scoring Searcy enjoyed in the second quarter did not carry over into the third quarter, but the stellar defensive play did. The Lady Lions backed up their strong efforts of the second frame by only allowing three more points by Wynne in the third quarter. The first points from either team didn’t occur until the 6:17 mark, when Taylor hit a basket and converted a free throw for an old-fashioned three-point play to give Searcy a 31-9 lead.
The Lady Lions pushed it to a 41-11 lead with 2:38 still left in the third quarter before pulling out all the starters for the remainder of the game.
Celsor led the Lady Lions with 14 points, while Clark added 10 for Searcy. The Lady Lions took on Pine Bluff in the semifinals last night after Leader deadlines to determine who would play Vilonia/Jonesboro in the Bank Classic finals Saturday night.