By ISAAC BOURNE | For The Arkadelphian
It was a rough night for the Arkadelphia Badgers (9-4) in their 76-60 loss to the Camden-Fairview Cardinals (5-4). As they took their fourth loss on the season, they were battered and bruised in a very physical game that saw 37 foul calls from both sides.
“We have told our guys that once we got into conference play that the level of physicality was going to increase and we needed to be ready for that,” head coach Garrett Garner said about his team. “It shouldn’t have surprised our guys from what we have been telling them but I think it got their attention and it was good for us to see.”
Star sophomore point guard James Elgas was shut down by the Cardinals, only making two field goals in a ten-point effort with six coming from the free-throw line. The lock-down defense played by Cardinal junior Jarvis Reed was the x-factor in his bad night, as he barely allowed Elgas to even touch the ball.
“[Elgas’ slump] affects us in a lot of ways because he does so much with the ball in his hands with scoring, but mainly creating for others,” Garner mentioned. “Camden had a good game plan and I’m sure this won’t be the last time we see that.”
In a bright spot for the Badgers, senior guard Chris Gray exploded for 24 points on six made threes, while junior guard Seth Golden and junior forward Evan Bailey had ten points respectively.
The Badgers kept the game close in the first half, going into the halftime break with just a seven-point deficit, but a big third quarter from Camden-Fairview allowed them to pull away in the second half, picking up their first conference win after going 0-2 in conference play so far.
“They had a great game plan and were the more desperate team because they were 0-2 coming into the game,” said Garner. “They are very physical and exposed us in some areas, but we will learn from it and grow.”
The Badgers will take this motivation into another interconference showdown at Arkadelphia High School, where they will face off against the Bobcats of Hope High School (5-5).