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SYLVAN HILLS VOLLEYBALL | Bears win first game at state tournament

A win at this time of year is not only precious, it is necessary.

For coach Harold Treadway, Tuesday was a first.

The Sylvan Hills Lady Bears are in the throws of the 5A state tournament in Alma this week. A win over Magnolia in three sets 19-25, 25-19, 25-17, 25-16, keeps their season alive.

Even though they lost the first game, Treadway said his middle blocker set the tone.

Carly Walton’s block against Magnolia’s tallest and best player gave the Lady Bears a spark with a “beautiful spike”.

“Then she got a spike on her, and that really gave us some confidence,” Treadway said.

Walton had been nursing a bad ankle in recent weeks, but was clearly 100 percent, and had been relied upon more as a defender than an offensive threat. Teams have been paying attention to defending Brooke Raney, who has been the Lady Bears most consistent offensive threat.

The win puts the Lady Bears in a matchup with Paragould on Wednesday, the top seed out of the East.

The Lady Rams are young. At times, head coach Angie Donner will deploy five sophomores and one junior including the likes of Braxton Burnside, Kianna Cole and what could be one of the state’s most versatile basketball players in Sydney Layrock.

The Lady Rams defeated Alma in their round one match on Tuesday, and compete with teams such as Nettleton who are the defending 5A champs.

The win for Sylvan Hills on Tuesday was a bit more special for Treadway. It was his first state tournament win as a head coach, but he was reluctant to turn the focus upon himself, although his players celebrated with him after the game.

“I never wanted to make it about me,” Treadway said. “I said if they win it’s on them, if they lost, then I didn’t have them ready.”

The Lady Bears were definitely ready for the Lady Panthers and will have some Rams to deal with. From there, who knows?

Whether or not Treadway and his team win another game or if they end their season on Wednesday, the Lady Bears have achieved success.

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