Tuesday, February 16, 2010

SPORTS >> Lady ’Rabbits savor sendoff

Leader sportswriter

Lonoke’s senior night against Heber Springs in the 2-4A Conference finale was merely a statement game after Lonoke had clinched the league crown two nights earlier.

But senior Asiah Scribner took the opportunity to make the statement a bold one in the Lady Jackrabbits’ 57-30 victory at Lonoke on Friday.

Scribner, the 6-0 post player and UALR signee, took over the game completely in the third quarter with 10 consecutive points.

Scribner’s outburst sparked a 20-0 run for the Lady Jackrabbits that began with 5:20 left in the third quarter and ended with 4:47 left to play.

Scribner finished with a game-high 23 points as the Lady ’Rabbits overcame a sluggish first half. The victory marked Lonoke’s first conference championship since the 2006-07 season and their first unbeaten conference run, 14-0, in modern school history.

“It’s an emotional night,” Lady Jackrabbits coach Nathan Morris said. “These seniors have meant the world to our program. We probably needed that — a little wake-up call. It’s not always easy. They kind of turned it on in the second half. Asiah Scribner, she was able to impose her will inside.”

Lonoke (22-5) held a 30-23 lead when Scribner began her run with 4:28 left in the third quarter. She started with a third-try putback, followed by a basket off a steal and assist from sophomore Calvian McGaughey to make it 36-23.

Scribner’s next shot came off an assist from fellow senior Ashleigh Himstedt, and then she scored after a steal and pass from point guard Michaela Brown. Scribner capped the run with two free throws, while Himstedt added a basket in the final eight seconds to give Lonoke a 43-23 lead heading into the final period.

While emotions ran high for the seniors during their final game in their home gym, Morris said Scribner’s explosion was not out of sentiment, but necessity.

“I don’t know if it was that or just the need for it,” Morris said. “I think she just knew it was her night. Our guards weren’t necessarily scoring early. It just looked like no one wanted to shoot the ball, so she kind of took it upon herself. We’re definitely tough to beat if Asiah Scribner scores more than 20 points.”

Himstedt scored 15 points for the Lady Jackrabbits while junior guard Cara Neighbors added 10.

Scriber, Brown and Himstedt, along with fellow seniors Emily Smith, Mallory Sexton and Brandy Lee, were honored along with the senior boys and senior cheerleaders immediately following the game.

It marked the last home game for a senior group that has two conference titles, three district championships, two regional titles and three state finals appearances to its credit.

“We told them it was their last game in Lonoke, but it wasn’t their last game in a white jersey,” Morris said. “If there’s this many tears after the last home game, then we better not lose, because it’s emotional.

“These kids have, I don’t want to say built the program, but they’ve built it strong. We had a strong program, but they built it stronger. Every one of them are better people than they are players, and I’ve always said that I felt like they were good players.”