SPORTS >> Stingy Bears keep Badgers’ baskets to bare minimum
By JASON KING
Beebe never gave up, but from the closing minutes of the first quarter the Badgers were never in the game against Sylvan Hills on Tuesday.
The Bears put up one of their strongest defensive efforts of the season and slowed down Badgers standout junior guard Devonte Young to win 47-23 at Sylvan Hills.
The Badgers made a charge mid-way through the first quarter after falling behind early, but the Bears (12-9, 3-7 5A-Southeast) regrouped and slowly pulled away over the remainder of the half. They held the momentum in the second half and finally enacted the timing/sportsmanship rule when they took a 30-point lead with a little over three minutes left to play.
“In the last few games, we’ve really tried to harp on our defense,” Bears coach Kevin Davis said. “We’re trying to get better and better at it — that and our rebounding. I thought the guys really responded. They did a good job.”
Young finished with 11 points to lead Beebe (3-20, 1-11), but Sylvan Hills’ stiff zone defense denied him inside driving lanes. He hit three, three-pointers and added a pair of free throws in the third quarter for his totals.
Davis said his players carried out the defensive scheme as he had drawn it up.
“I thought they executed our game plan really well,” he said. “Seniors played like seniors need to play. But just from an overall game plan, I could see things in all facets. I saw great wing play, great post play and really good guard play — all within the confines of what we try to do every day in practice.”
Young hit his first three-pointer with 5:58 left in the first quarter to cut the Bears’ lead to 5-3. He then followed a Demetric Gross score for Sylvan Hills with a basket and free throw to make it 7-6.
“I thought Beebe came out and really played us hard right out of the gate,” Davis said. “So it was good to see them play with the heart and intensity early, and our guys having to match that.”
Badger sophomore Braden Jones added some points in the lane in the first half. He took an assist from Young with 32 seconds left in the first quarter and scored, then hit a shot assisted by Brandon Fuller to start the second quarter to make it 16-14.
“They were getting the pick-and-roll in early and getting some buckets inside,” Davis said. “We switched it up and threw a little zone at them, and that seemed to slow them down just a little bit and get them out of their rhythm that they were trying to do.”
Gross had a strong night inside for the Bears with 10 points and four rebounds, and teamed with Archie Goodwin to take over the game in the third quarter. Goodwin led with 21 points.
“He knows what to do with that basketball when you get it in there to him,” Davis said of Gross. “He’s got a few moves inside. If you give him a little space, he’s tough to guard. He throws several different moves at you.”
Trey Smith and senior Ahmad Scott each scored seven points for the Bears. Point guard Bruce Mack had only a pair of free throws, but his seven assists and team-leading six rebounds proved to be some of the biggest differences for the Bears.
“He’s tough to guard, and he’s elusive,” Davis said. “I thought he did a really good job once Beebe extended pressure of breaking that down and finding guys. That’s when we pulled away in the first half, when he was making those moves inside.”