Last week I wrote a column questioning the integrity of NBA officiating, which is often dictated by large market superstars.
Last week I wrote a column questioning the integrity of NBA officiating, which is often dictated by large market superstars. I maintain my stance that a bad no-call hurt the Spurs in Game 6, however, Miami proved to be the better team in Game 7. Leading by two at halftime and one after three quarters, Miami pulled away from San Antonio in the fourth quarter to win 95-88 as Lebron “King” James showed his worth, pouring in 37 points while grabbing 12 rebounds. San Antonio's Danny Green, who broke Ray Allen's NBA Finals series record for most three-pointers, finished 1-of-12 from the field in Game 7. Ironically, it was Allen's three from the corner that helped seal the win for Miami. Game 7 was a classic just like the NBA had hoped. The league did their part to help Miami in Game 6, but as mentioned in last Friday's column the Spurs had their chances to slam the door and failed. If all games were called with the same integrity as Game 7, I would not have a problem with watching a little more professional basketball. Area basketball The three-time defending 2-4A champion Lady Panthers return four starters from a team that advanced to the 4A state quarterfinals last season before losing to eventual state champion Malvern. Under Coach Jamey Riddle's direction, I expect big things from Heber Springs this season with Skylar Johnson, Hannah Johnson, Janae Long and Makenzie Martin leading the way. Skye Miller, Bridget Muse, McKenzie Cresswell and Mary Lawrence also bring a good bit of experience. Under Coach Kevin Kyzer, the Panthers should be strong again with smooth guard Austin “Red” Adkins, savvy forward Michael Kramer and Mason Schroeder, a 6-5 forward who is receiving recruiting interest from division-1 schools, including UCA. Both teams are working hard this summer, whether practice or team camp. The Concord Pirates, arguably the best team in the county over the past two years, will look to bounce back from a close loss to Bay in the 1A state championship game. With star guard Jacob Roark leading the show, the Pirates have a chance in every game. But, replacing Ryan Cornelison, who was second leading scorer, will determine whether Concord has what it takes to make another run. Ethan Hebert, Luke Cornett and Hance Bowman return as starters along with Roark, leading me to believe it could be the Pirates' year. Cornett, a deadly shooter, stepped up big time with 16 points in last year's state championship game. At 6' 2”, Hebert plays much bigger than his size. Keeping Hebert out of foul trouble and rebounding will be key. The West Side Eagles lose their best player – 2012 Greers Ferry Lake Classic MVP Logan Bailey, who played for the East squad in the Arkansas Activities Association's annual All-Star game. However, first-year boys Coach Shane Davis, who led a resurgence as girls coach last year, has plenty of weapons returning to make the Eagles a formidable opponent. With hard-nosed Ben Hargrove at center, Bryce Hipp at guard and a strong sophomore class, look out of the Eagles once the postseason rolls around. The Lady Eagles will also be a team to watch with Abby Turney, Alexis Barnes, Ashley Gentry and Gracie Waters leading the charge. (Will Gilbert is sports editor for The Sun-Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org)