Leader Blues

Friday, January 16, 2009

SPORTS>> Falcons rally past Beebe

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

Beebe’s seven-game home winning streak came to an end at the hands of 5A-Southeast Conference rival North Pulaski on Tuesday. The Falcons survived a first half of slow-it-down basketball, and shut down Beebe senior Zach Kersey in the second half on their way to capturing a 66-49 win.

The Badgers (9-4, 1-1) kept the game low tempo in the first half, and went on a 9-0 run to end the second quarter for a 19-16 lead at intermission. North Pulaski (11-5, 2-0) responded in the second half with its depth and more backcourt defensive pressure.

That pressure resulted in 11 second-half turnovers by Beebe, after only five giveaways in the first half. The Falcons hung on to the ball consistently all night, with only six turnovers for the game.

“They actually stuck to the game plan in the second half,” said North Pulaski coach Ray Cooper. “We had a pitiful practice yesterday and I kept telling them that (Beebe) is a good team. This is a team that on any given night can beat anybody.

“Tonight, we played exceptionally well in the second half. The other team is better than the score, and those guys fought all the way down to the end. Our guys went in the second half and took care of the basketball, went back to the game plan, and we defended a lot better.”

Junior Kyron Ware scored only threepoints in the first half, but turned up the heat in the second half for 12 of his 15 points.

That included a pair of dunks in the third quarter, one of which came on a steal and coast-to-coast trip just before the buzzer.

That gave the Falcons a 39-31 lead to start the final period. Ware helped extend that lead in the fourth with two straight putback baskets that took the margin to 50-33 by the 6:08 mark. “In the full court, he’s as good as anybody,” Cooper said of Ware. “Because he can fly. He can run, he can jump, he can finish. Get him in that kind of game, and it really allows him to show his talents. He got to do a little bit of that, and he got out and made some plays for us.”

Ware went on to lead the Falcons in scoring, followed by Daquan Bryant, who had 12 rebounds, four assists and two steals to go along with his 13 points.

The Badgers could have used a little more Kersey in the second half, but added pressure from North Pulaski limited him to only one second-half field goal. Kersey was able to get to the line, where he made all seven of his free throw attempts.

Point guard Will Scott picked up the slack for Beebe in the second half, scoring 16 of his game-high 21 points. Kersey ended up with 17 points for the game, but only two other Badgers found their way on the scoreboard. Donte Myles finished with six points and Brandon Purcell had four.

The slow pace set by the Badgers in the first half gave North Pulaski fits. The score was only 7-7 at the end of the first quarter, and the Falcons managed only nine more points in the next period.

“They’re good at it,” Cooper said. “That’s what I tried to tell them. If we’re going to allow them to dictate to us what’s going on, then we’re playing right into their hands, and if you’re playing another guy’s game, they’re probably better at it than you are.”

Rebounding ended up a major factor, with the Falcons winning the glass battle handily 34-17. North Pulaski also took advantage of 13 steals, including four by point guard Joe Agee.

Aaron Cooper finished with 13 points for the Falcons, including 5 of 5 at the foul line. T.J. Green added seven points, with six each for Breylon Henderson and Jerald Blair.

BEEBE GIRLS 53, NORTH PULASKI 17

The Lady Falcons went from the high of winning their first game of the year against Mills four days earlier to the low of suffering a mercy-ruled trouncing at the hands of the Lady Badgers.

Ty O’Neill and Genishia Edwards had their way with the NP offense in the first half. O’Neill scored 11 of her game-high 13 points during that time, while Edwards had 9 of her 11.

North Pulaski (1-8, 1-1 in the 5A Southeast) struggled from the floor all night. A basket by point guard Haley Hudson were the Lady Falcons’ only first-quarter points, and they went scoreless against the Beebe subs in the fourth quarter. Bianca Harper led North Pulaski with seven points.

“We executed our game plan pretty well,” said Lady Badgers coach Lora Jackson. “Yesterday and today, we talked about trying to get some transition-type baskets. We blocked out well and executed our offense. We trapped and got some steals out of it, which we haven’t been doing as well. The free-throw line was probably the poorest thing we had tonight.”

The Lady Badgers (6-9, 2-0) went 8 of 23 at the stripe, 3 of 9 in the first half. They forced 28 turnovers by North Pulaski, 19 of them with steals. O’Neill led with six picks, with three more by sophomore Amanda Wheeler.

Beebe went with subs for most of the second half. Junior Ashley Harris led that group with five points, all of which came in the fourth quarter.

North Pulaski played at Crossett last night, and will host Sylvan Hills on Tuesday. Beebe played at Monticello last night, and will host Little Rock McClellan on Tuesday.