Badgers Start Season Off on Winning Note

Nov 27th, 2013 | By admin | Category: Sports

TEXT & PHOTOS

BY: C. MICHAEL LONG

Staff Sports Photojournalist

The Badger basketball season got started in exciting fashion Friday night, November 23rd, when the Vilonia Eagles visited Badger Arena for the 1st game of both team’s seasons – with the Badgers winning both contests.

In the 1st contest, the Lady Badgers squared off against the Lady Eagles in what would be a hotly contested event. The Lady Badgers jumped out to a quick 11-3 1st quarter lead, in what looked to be a blowout. But the Lady Eagles had other plans – and with both good shooting and rebounding, closed the gap to a 21 – 16 Lady Badger lead at halftime.

The Lady Eagles got hot and took a 1-point, 22-21, lead with 5:28 left in the 3rd quarter on a running lay-up. But Lady Badger Kalela Miller began to take off at that point and helped the Lady Badgers take a 30-28 lead going into the final stanza.

The Lady Eagles were able to tie the game at 30-30 with 7:01 remaining in the contest – but could not handle the inside/outside game of Gracie Anders and Miller as the Lady Badgers pulled away. With the ladies leading 41-35, Vilonia put their full court press into action, but it was too little too late, as Kalela continued hitting 3-point shots over their defense and ran up a 10 point, 45-35, lead with a minute left in the game. The Lady Badgers hit their free throws down the stretch to seal the victory and defeated the Lady Eagles, 50-39. Making their record 1-0 to begin the season.

Kalela Miller led the Lady Badgers in scoring with 20 points and Gracie Anders added 12 points. McKenzie Morris had 12 points to lead the Lady Eagles.

After the contest, Coach Richey was happy with his team’s performance, “ I thought we defended well 80% of the time, I had told the girls we had to defend and rebound well tonight and they responded ” Coach Richey said.

Coach Richey concluded by saying, “ We did not allow any 3 point shots tonight and that was huge. Our girls played with heart and determination and that was the difference. We defended and rebounded well, as well as forcing some turnover there at the end and we hit our free throws the last 2:30 of the game – which put the game away.”

In the nightcap – the Badger boys took on the Eagle boys, in a game that was just as exciting as the 1st contest of the night.

The Badgers had the hot hand to start the game and went up 5-0 on the Eagles – but that lead would soon evaporate once the Eagles began to settle in and they took an early 8-6 lead with 2 minutes left in the 1st quarter and led 9-8 after the 1st stanza.

The Eagles continued to substitute players in and out and built a 13-10 lead with 4:30 left in the 2nd quarter. But, the Badgers fought back and tied the game at 16 with 2 minutes left in the half. The Badgers got a quick 3-point shot from Tyler Childress and Tanner Chapman, scored on a driving lay-up with 5.8 seconds left in the half, to give the Badgers a 6-point, 22-16, lead at halftime.

The Badgers held on to the lead throughout the 3rd quarter behind the play of Chapman and Zach Baker, who had to sit out most of the 1st half due to foul trouble. Baker hit a long range 3-pointer with 1:30 left in the 3rd quarter, giving the Badgers a 32-27 lead, a lead that they would carry into 4th and final period.

Baker continued with the hot hand in the 4th quarter – hitting another long range 3-pointer – putting the Badgers up 35-31 with 6:30 remaining. The Eagles would not go away and went ahead by 1 point, 36-35, on a 3-point shot with 5:00 remaining in the game. But, Bryson Bell was there to meet the challenge himself and hit a huge 3 point shot with 4:15 remaining in contest, making the score 38-36 and giving the Badgers a lead they would not relinquish. Chapman continued to drive the lane for short jump shots and made his free throws when fouled – but, to cap the night off, with 44 seconds remaining - Reggie Blackmon came up with the ball under the Eagle goal and drove the length of the floor for a lay-up, which barely slipped off the rim – but true to form – Zach Baker was there to slam it home and give the Badgers a 48-42 lead! The Badgers hung on from there for an exciting 1st win of the season by the score of 49-44.

The Badgers were led in scoring by Tanner Chapman who had 16 points – 9 of those coming in the final quarter and Zach Baker – who had 15 points, with 7 of those coming in the final quarter. Cameron Wilkins and Garrett Brown who scored 9 points each led the Eagles.

Coach Marshall was happy with his squad after the game and said, “ They took advantage of our lack of depth with their substituting – but we fought through adversity and found a way to win. Reggie Blackmon played his 1st full game for us and did a good job. This was Tanner’s 1st game back since last March after a knee surgery and he was a little rusty – but had only practiced 4 or 5 times and after having to sit out most of the 1st half due to foul trouble, Zach was fresh in the second half, which was a blessing in disguise – so I’m really happy with our guys tonight.”

The win puts the Badgers at 1-0 for the season. Be sure to catch all the home basketball action on the web this season with Shane Smith at www.beebebadgers.org if you can’t make it to the games! Both Badger teams will be back in action when they host Hot Springs Lakeside at Badger Arena on Tuesday night, November 26th.