SPORTS >> Lions overwhelm Bears
Senior Demetric Gross, above, looks for an open teammate against a LR McClellan press.
By JASON KING
Sylvan Hills’ 9-2 record leading up to Tuesday night’s matchup with Little Rock McClellan was proof the young but talented Bears squad was capable of competing with anyone on a given night.
But the Lions’ merciless thumping of the Bears in a 76-45 victory proved experience and good size, not to mention deadeye shooting, still rule the court most nights.
McClellan (12-2, 1-0 5A-Southeast) put up 11 quick points before Sylvan Hills (9-3, 0-1) scored any during the 5A-Southeast game at Sylvan Hills High School.
The Lions also put their superior depth on display with solid contributions from the bench. A total of 11 McClellan players found their way on to the scoreboard, while the Bears struggled with the McClellan press and the Lions’ overall defensive intensity.
The Lions keyed on sophomore standout Archie Goodwin most of the night. The 6-3 Bears forward still led Sylvan Hills with 17 points, but most of that came from his 13-of-15 performance at the free-throw line.
Goodwin’s only field-goal makes were a pair of hard-fought inside jumpers in the middle of the first quarter.
Goodwin’s back-to-back jumpers gave the Bears their first points with 5:45 left in the first quarter.
The Lions jumped to their 11-0 lead with big shots from Tevin Hammond and Marcus Jordan. Hammond scored 23 first-half points while Jordan backed him up with 11 points through the first two quarters.
Free throws by Bears sophomore post Devin Pearson and Goodwin helped Sylvan Hills pull to within 17-8. Ahmad Scott made a layup with 1:28 left in the quarter to make it 19-10 and making Scott just the second Bears player to score a field goal.
Sylvan Hills pulled within 20-14 with 45 seconds left in the quarter when Demetric Gross made a basket, but McClellan hit a three-pointer in the final 20 seconds to increase its lead to nine, and Hammond and company continued to push the Bears in the next frame.
Hammond dominated the second quarter for the Lions. The speedy and accurate guard hit two straight field goals to put McClellan up 29-16 with 4:50 left in the half, and he extended the lead with a pair of three-pointers in the final two minutes to make it 43-24.
He added one more three-pointer with 20 seconds left in the half while Goodwin closed out the quarter for the Bears with a pair of free throws that cut the halftime margin to 51-30.
The Bears continued to struggle from the floor in the second half. Larry Ziegler and Pearson scored goals in the third quarter, but everyone else came up empty as the Lions extended their lead.
Rhakeem Brown did the inside work for McClellan with a putback at the 2:28 mark, followed by a dunk after a Sylvan Hills’ turnover that made it 66-36. He also scored on another putback with 1:28 left in the third.
The Lions ended the third quarter as they did the previous two with a long three-pointer that gave them a 72-38 lead.
Hammond led McClellan with 23 points, while Brown and Crandon Isac each added nine. Gross finished with nine points for Sylvan Hills.
The Bears played at Monticello on Friday night and will return home next Friday to host White Hall.