Monday, January 22, 2007

SPORTS>>Jackrabbits come back on Southside-Batesville

Leader sports editor

Lonoke got a pair of 16-point wins over Southside-Batesville Tuesday night at Lonoke High School. The Lady Jackrabbits started the evening with a 47-31 win and the boys followed with a 64-48 victory. The boys started hot and never trailed, although they did allow the Southerners back into the game in the third quarter after extending their lead well into double figures. On the heels of what head coach Wes Swift called his team’s “worst effort in a long time” against Heber Springs the previous Friday, Swift was much more pleased with Tuesday’s performance.

“We’re still not playing as well as I think we can play, but I think there was just a lot more effort out there tonight,” Swift said. “They played hard and that rebounding total is what happens when you play hard. We were killed on the boards against Heber and that was only because they were playing harder than we were.” The Jackrabbits grabbed 27 boards to the Southerners’ 17 Tuesday night. Lonoke raced out to an 18-8 lead by the end of the first quarter. Bradley Spencer and Tyrone Dobbins combined for 14 of those points, forcing Southside to adjust in the second quarter. The adjustment was effective, and allowed the visitors to climb to within six points at 30-24 by halftime.

Lonoke’s Clarence Harris scored nine of Lonoke’s 12 points in the second quarter. The only non-Harris bucket in the second frame was a three pointer by Pat Smith. Early in the third, Lonoke continued to struggle to penetrate with the same effectiveness as in the first quarter. The Southerners completed a 7-2 run to start the second half when post player Mikey Fulcher banked in a three pointer from the top of the key to cut Lonoke’s lead to 32-31. That’s when Spencer and Dobbins began to get back into the game.

Spencer answered Fulcher’s three with his own three pointer. Dobbins then got a steal and fed Sammy Coleman for an easy layup to quickly push the lead back to 37-31 and force a Southerner timeout. The break didn’t seem to help any. Right out of the timeout, Dobbins and Coleman got two more steals and two more layups to make it 41-31. Batesville finally broke the run, but when a Dobbins three put the Jackrabbits up by 11, the Southerners never got it back within 10 points.

The fourth quarter was a seemingly endless array of fouls and free throws by both teams. Lonoke shot 18 free throws in the fourth quarter, but made only nine. The Rabbits were 11 of 20 for the game. Southside hit 14 of 22 free throws in the contest. Lonoke nearly doubled SS-Batesville in shot attempts. The Jackrabbits were 23 of 57 from the field while the Southerners were 15 of 31. Spencer led Lonoke with 19 points while Dobbins added 17 and Harris 10. Dobbins also got seven rebounds and six steals, and hit all four of his free-throw attempts. Southside’s Daniel Martin led all scorers with 21 points.

Lonoke’s girls started slow, but went on a 22-0 tear in the seconds quarter to claim control of the game. Southside led 9-7 after one quarter and 15-13 at halftime as the Lady Jackrabbits simply couldn’t find the range from the field. Lonoke came out in a press to start the third with 6-foot-1 freshmen Asiah Scribner at the top of the formation. After Southside hit a three to take an 18-13 lead in the first few seconds of the third, Scribner got three steals to kick off the run that didn’t stop until Lonoke led 35-18 with 36 seconds left in the quarter.

Scribner dished to Kristy Shinn after her first two steals, and Shinn converted both into layups. She then got a steal and converted it herself. Post players Crystal Kirk and Jenny Evans then scored 11 straight points out of the offense, with Evans pouring in seven of those 11. Scribner then got a bucket and a free throw before Evans capped the run to give Lonoke a 17-point lead. Southside didn’t quit. They managed to end the quarter with a 5-0 run in the final 22 seconds to make it 35-23 by the start of the fourth.

The Lady Southerners didn’t stop there. The extended to 12-2 into the fourth quarter trimmed Lonoke’s lead to 37-30 by the 6:02 mark. Lonoke coach Nathan Morris called timeout and his team responded with a 10-0 run that put the game away.
“I don’t think we were that bad early,” Morris said. “I give Southside the credit for that. It helps us a lot to be able to put a six-footer that’s athletic like Asiah Scribner out at the top of the press. It created a lot of problems for them and we fed off that in the second half.”

Evans led all scorers with 21 points while Kirk added 12 for Lonoke, who improved to ?? overall and 9-0 in conference play. Southside dropped to 8-9 overall and 5-4 against league competition.