The Arkansas Leader

Bears get another big victory

Sylvan Hills opens double-digit lead in first quarter, maintains it throughout in home win over Little Rock Christian.

Only two undefeated teams remained in the 5A-Central Conference after Sylvan Hills claimed a 78-62 victory over Little Rock Christian Academy on Tuesday in Sherwood. Neither team had lost a conference game going into Tuesday. Only the Bears and Maumelle remain unbeaten after the Hornets toppled Jacksonville on a last-second shot.
Sylvan Hills got leading scorer Nick Smith Jr. back for Tuesday’s game after he had missed the first two conference games, both road wins over Benton and Jacksonville.
In Tuesday’s game, the Warriors were shorthanded, playing without starting center Creed Williamson, the 6-foot-8 junior and son of former Razorback and NBA All-Star Corliss Williamson.
The Warriors still had sophomore phenom and leading scorer Layden Blocker, and he led a charge out of the gate.
Things did not start well for the home team. The opening tip went to LRCA’s Colin Cooper, and no one was with him. He sauntered in for an uncontested layup just four seconds into the game. Sylvan Hills’ junior Shamar Womack was fouled on the Bears’ first possession and made 1 of 2 free throws. Blocker then scored seven in a row. The first four came on free throws before a 3-pointer put the Warriors up 9-1 just 98 seconds in and forced a Sylvan Hills timeout.
Smith scored for the Bears after the break. He then buckled down defensively and forced a five-second violation against Cooper. The two teams then began to settle into the game. Little Rock Christian still held an 11-4 lead when the Bears made their move.
Senior guard Amarion Watson got a steal and made 1 of 2 free throws after being fouled. Another defensive stop for the Bears led to a Trent Clark jumper from mid-range.
Blocker answered with a drive to the rim that made the score 13-7 with three minutes left in the first quarter, but the Bears would score the next 11 in a row.
Smith pulled up from 10-feet before the Warriors turned it over. Smith took it to the rim in transition despite being one on three, and scored against the triple team with 2:27 on the clock.
A long Warrior possession ended in a miss before Sylvan Hills senior Jayden Smith made a 3-pointer that put the Bears up for the first time at 14-13 with 1:25 remaining in the first period.
After another LRCA miss, the Warriors didn’t get back on defense.
Nick Smith got the rebound and hit Tony Cribbs with a court-length pass that led to a two-handed slam.
Clark then got a steal from Blocker and hit Watson for a transition layup and an 18-13 Bears’ lead.
Little Rock Christian Academy’s Trey Lord scored the last shot of the quarter to make it 18-15, but that’s as close as the Warriors would get the rest of the game.
The two teams traded baskets for the first two minutes of the second period, leaving Sylvan Hills with a 22-19 lead. The Bears then went on another 10-0 run and maintain a double-digit lead for all but a few seconds in the fourth quarter the rest of the way.
Cribbs scored with 5:44 left in the half to start the 10-0 run. Corey Washington was then fouled grabbing a defensive rebound, and made both ends of a 1-and-1 trip to the line. The Warriors continued to miss, and Womack added two more free throws before Watson and Washington hooked up for an alley-oop that put the Bears up 30-19.
Blocker then threw the ball away trying to force a pass into traffic, and Washington scored at the other end to cap the 10-0 run with 2:37 left in the half.
The Bears’ second quarter lead grew as large as 38-21 before settling on 42-28 at halftime.
The Warriors (9-3, 1-1) scored the first four points of the second half, but could never get their deficit to single digits in the third quarter.
The Bears stretched the lead back to 17 at 58-41, but LRCA scored seven straight in the last 58 seconds to make it a 10-point game at the start of the fourth quarter.
Washington missed two free throws to start the fourth, and the Warriors made it 58-50 on a Trey Jones jumper 30 seconds into the final frame. Momentum continued to build when Sylvan Hills couldn’t get the ball across midcourt in 10 seconds, but the Warriors were unable to take advantage of that turnover.
Nick Smith stole the ball from Jones and was fouled. He made 1 of 2 free throws for a 59-50 lead. LRCA then got three offensive rebounds and four shot attempts on its next possession, but missed them all.
Washington finally got a defensive rebound and took it the other way for a layup and a foul. He made the free throw to complete the three-point play, giving the Bears a 62-50 lead with 6:06 remaining. The Warriors would get no closer the rest of the way.
Both teams shot free throws well, but only Sylvan Hills (11-2, 3-0) shot well from the floor. The Bears made 21 of 29 free throws (72.4 percent). The Warriors made 13 of 15 (86.7). Sylvan Hills, however, shot 52 percent from the floor while LRCA was just 32 percent.
Washington led all scorers with 21 points and made it a double-double with 12 rebounds. Nick Smith scored 19 while Watson posted 13 and Jayden Smith added nine.
Blocker and Jones scored 19 each for the Warriors while Cooper added 10. Cooper also posted a double-double by adding 10 rebounds.
LRCA girls 68, Sylvan Hills 54
The Lady Bears lost for the first time in conference play, falling 68-54 to the Lady Warriors (11-1, 2-0). Slow starts have plagued the Sylvan Hills ladies, even in the first two conference victories. That trend continued on Tuesday and the Top-5 ranked Lady Warriors were too good to overcome the early deficit.
Sylvan Hills’ Karsyn Morgan made a 3-pointer for the game’s first points, but LRCA responded with a 10-0 run and never trailed again.
The game was competitive throughout. The Lady Warriors lead was still seven points at the end of the first half. It only grew to nine points by the end of the third quarter, but the Lady Bears could never climb all the way back.
Sophomore Jianna Morris led Sylvan Hills (6-3, 2-1) with 18 points. Morgan had nine while Shayla Golden and Daniya Cartwright scored eight each.
Wynter Rogers scored 29 for Little Rock Christian Academy. Ashton Elley added 10.

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