They appear to be hitting their stride just in time.
The Sylvan Hills Bears are headed to Mountain Home after Christmas after coming off an impressive 64-52 win over the Watson Chapel Wildcats in what coach Kevin Davis called a “back and forth” game.
“They got up on us early, we came back,” head coach Kevin Davis said. “We came out and controlled the second half.”
Ronnie Hinton led Sylvan Hills with 18 points while David Johnson had 16 and Cordy Winston chipped in 14 in Friday’s win.
Sylvan Hills got 24 points in the paint, which is something Davis said his team needs to do more of as the season matures.
“Getting the post guys on track makes us hard to guard,” Davis said, “and you want to be able to score inside if they are pressing your guards.”
The Bears have enjoyed exceptional guard play early in the season and welcome an inside balance.
The Bears are building momentum with one more tournament appearance after winning the consolation bracket of the Russellville tournament last weekend where they posted wins over Sheridan and Arkadelphia.
Going to Mountain Home, the Bears will see the likes of Fayetteville, the 7A state runner up from last year as well as Paragould, Greene County Tech as well as Benton, Greenwood and host Mountain Home.
“Gonna see some different teams,” Davis said. “See some things we haven’t seen and it will be good for them.”
One of the things that Davis hopes to continue to do in this weekend’s tournament is get his football players more acclimated to basketball as well as iron out some “consistency issues”.
Tra Doss and Marlon Clemmons are knee deep into the transition process from the gridiron to the hardwood.
Davis expects Doss, Sylvan Hills’ star quarterback, to make a big impact based on his athleticism especially on defense.
“Tra got big minutes against Chapel,” Davis said, because we put him on their best player. He hasn’t lost a thing on the defensive end.”
Davis said guys that can be designated stoppers on defense are crucial to the success of a team in any tournament setting.
“You got to have stoppers on your team that can guard their best players,” Davis said. “Tra is in that mode. He can come in and make it real tough on their best player.”
Even at 5-10, if Doss doesn’t get a stop, he makes the opposing player work for his shot. Davis said Doss has the ability to guard any player on the floor regardless of position.
“He is so athletic,” Davis said. “He does a great job of staying in front of his man. As he’s gotten older, he has learned to read the offensive guy much better.”
That kind of defense could make a good team even better.