Leader Blues

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

SPORTS >> Lady Bears rebound to win

Ashley Johnson was one of the late keys as Sylvan Hills defeated White Hall.

Leader sportswriter

Sylvan Hills’ tenacious defense carried over into the second half, as did its control of the rebounding against visiting White Hall on Friday.

What did not carry over was the Lady Bears’ ability to hit baskets.

But Sylvan Hills still found a way to beat the Lady Bulldogs 40-32 at Sylvan Hills to stay in the early running for the 5A-Southeast Conference title.

Scrappy play by Lady Bears post Ashley Johnson and a timely basket and free throw by guard Terica Kendrick helped hold off a late charge from the Lady Bulldogs, who closed a 24-16 halftime deficit to 29-25 at the end of the third quarter.

White Hall made it a one-score game with 41 seconds left when Haley Baugh scored on a putback to make it 34-32.

“That third quarter, we didn’t even score a basket I don’t think,” Lady Bears coach Bee Rodden said. “And we had opportunities.

We missed lay-ups and we got nuts with the ball.

“To play as bad as we did at times, and as lethargic as we did and missed all the opportunities we had in the third quarter and still win, that tells me that they played with a lot of heart. That was a train wreck, man.”

The Lady Bears (9-5, 2-1) built their lead in the second quarter with the help of transition baskets off steals. They kept generating turnovers in the third quarter, but missed five wide-open lay-ups.

The only Sylvan Hills points in the third quarter were a pair of free throws by Johnson with 6:30 left to make it 26-18, and three free throws by Dee Dee Lewis.

Lewis hit both free throws after a foul with 2:10 left to extend the lead to 29-22, but Kayla Walters made a three-pointer at the end of the quarter to bring the Lady Bulldogs within four.

White Hall kept a lid on Kendrick in the second half until she got loose with 26 seconds left to play.

White Hall had the game in control and had cut Sylvan Hills’ lead to 34-32, but Kendrick beat the press when she took an assist from Lindsay Smith and drove for the score underneath the basket.

She also drew a foul and tacked on the free throw to give the Lady Bears a 37-32 lead.

Kendrick led the Lady Bears with 11 points while Johnson and Lewis scored nine each.

Johnson led against Monticello earlier in the week with a 27-point, nine-rebound performance in a 54-51 road loss in which Sylvan Hills committed 25 turnovers.

“I think the conference race is pretty even,” Rodden said. “You’re going to have to win what you can win at home and take care of yourself, and sneak one or two out on the road.

“Last week, we rode all the way on a cold bus; we didn’t have any heat, and we came out cold. We just stood around and still only got beat by three.”

Emily Grace Ruggeri led White Hall with seven points.