SPORTS >> Losses aging youthful Sylvan Hills
By JASON KING
The start of 5A-Southeast Conference play has put a young Sylvan Hills team in an unfamiliar position.
After a solid start, the Bears are on a losing streak.
The latest setback came when White Hall beat Sylvan Hills 58-47 on Friday at Sylvan Hills. The Bears, with a talented group of sophomores leading the way, began the season 9-2, but they have dropped their first three conference games.
“This is their first spell of adversity; they’ve always been bigger than their opponent,” Bears coach Kevin Davis said. “Now, you’ve got young 10th-graders playing against a senior-laden team, and you’re going to have some adversity in that situation.
“But young guys have to fight their way through it and these guys have a good attitude. They’re ready to get back to the gym tomorrow and get to work.”
Sylvan Hills (9-5, 0-3) did not have trouble finding open shooters, but it did struggle to get the open shots to fall. White Hall (4-8, 1-1) reaped the benefits with solid defensive rebounding and effective shooting from the inside out.
“They played extremely well and shot the ball well,” Davis said. “I thought we did the things we worked hard on in practice. The biggest thing was there seemed to be a lid on the basket.
“We had some really good looks, especially in the first half. We just couldn’t get the ball down in the hole.”
The Bulldogs had an answer for every Bears run thanks to senior point guard Evan Sidwell, who stopped a 6-0 Sylvan Hills run in its tracks when he made a 32-foot jumper to put White Hall up 35-25 with 1:25 left in the third quarter.
Sidwell and teammate Tanner Moore also came through for the Bulldogs at the free-throw line in the last four minutes. Moore went 3 of 4 at the line while Sidwell hit all four of his attempts.
Meanwhile, Bears sophomore Archie Goodwin missed four straight chances at the free-throw line in the last two minutes.
Goodwin led the Bears with 18 points, but his 7 of 16 performance at the free-throw line proved to be one of the differences in the game.
Senior Matt Cable came off the bench early in the first quarter and had several open looks from the right side of the three-point line, but all of his attempts landed off the mark.
“Matt Cable came out and played with more intensity and tenaciousness than I’ve seen him play,” Davis said. “That kind of spread throughout all our guys.”
Trey Smith nailed a pair of long three-pointers in the final minute to cut White Hall’s lead to 56-45. Goodwin added a basket before two free throws by White Hall’s Dion Young set the final margin.
“They continued to battle,” Davis said. “I’ve really been on them about our defense and our rebounding, especially defensively. Also playing hard and leaving everything out there.
“I summed it up, I said, ‘Guys, we didn’t make shots.’ And I don’t know why. They weren’t bad shots, they were quality shots.
We just couldn’t knock them down tonight for some reason.”