By ISAAC BOURNE | The Arkadelphian
The Arkadelphia Badgers’ 72-56 win over the Malvern Leopards (4-10) was a great example of the depth held all the way down the Badger lineup.
Four out of Arkadelphia’s (12-6) seven regular players scored in double figures in the team’s winning effort Tuesday night, as senior guard Chris Gray led the way with 19 points, including three threes, while sophomore guard James Elgas had another big outing, tallying 19 also.
Sophomore OB Roberts had 10 off the bench, eight of them coming in the second quarter, while junior forward Evan Bailey had 11, two of which coming on an electrifying dunk off a fastbreak in the third quarter that sent the crowd into a frenzy. Junior guard Seth Golden and senior forward AJ Lambert both added four in similarly stellar defensive performances that saw them rack up multiple steals.
When asked about the luxury of having such a deep roster to help him put up points every night, Chris Gray did not shy away from giving his teammates credit. “It’s really good,” Gray commented. “We practice all the time on stuff like that, so when the time came, we were all ready to execute.”
Gray’s impact was felt in the first half, where, after missing his first two shots of the game, Gray only missed one more shot for the rest of the first half, scoring 14 points in that timeframe.
“I always feel ready to knock it down, since I’m practicing my shot all the time, so when they call my name, I’m ready to go,” Gray added.
“We’ve been talking about building off last Friday’s defensive performance,” coach Garrett Garner said when asked about the overall play of his team. “…it felt like it was a true team effort, and it was good to see guys just playing with confidence — knocking down shots — and that’s how we’re going to beat people. We’re going to have to attack, and then make the extra pass for better shots.”
After Tuesday night’s performance, the Badgers look ahead to Friday, where they try to avenge their Jan. 3 loss to Magnolia at home, where they were unable to come out on top of a close game.
“If we keep doing what we’ve been doing, trusting each other, we will be good,” Gray said with confidence about his team.
“We’re not yet where we want to be,” Garner voiced, “but that’s all coaches right now. They’re still trying to tap into certain things to figure out what makes guys tick, but I will say this: It’s always good to get wins. Those types of things really build confidence in our guys, and while we know it’s going to be a challenge going on the road, our mentality will be to hit the ground running … and we’ll go down there and see what happens.”