Tuesday, March 15, 2011

SPORTS >> Patriots bounce Devils, win 6A

Leader sports editor

HOT SPRINGS — The shots didn’t fall and so Jacksonville did.

Missed baskets here and there proved costly to the Red Devils as Little Rock Parkview overcame Jacksonville at the end of the third quarter on the way to a 50-44 victory in the 6A state championship at Summit Arena on Saturday.

The Patriots took the lead for good when standout forward Aaron Ross followed a missed Jacksonville dunk with a three-pointer to make it 36-35 and Parkview stayed a step ahead the rest of the way to win its 11th state championship and coach Al Flanigan’s fourth.

Flanigan, the one-time Parkview assistant, was considering retiring, but not after Saturday’s championship.

“I’ve got to come back and get another run at this thing,” Flanigan said after Parkview finished 2-1 against 6A-East Conference rival Jacksonville for the season. “I’m so proud of these guys. They scrapped all year long.”

Jacksonville, playing for its second state championship in three years after winning it all in 2009, saw a nine-game winning streak come to an end.

“I just want to thank all these gentlemen,” Jacksonville coach Vic Joyner said. “They gave their heart and soul. They won a tough conference and I’m proud of them.”

Jacksonville’s senior guard and scoring leader Raheem Appleby, slowed somewhat by an ankle injury, was trying to set up Jamison Williams for an alley-oop dunk after Jamison got a steal with Jacksonville leading 35-33 in the closing seconds of the third quarter.

But Williams’ attempt caromed high off the rim, and Ross, an Arkansas Razorbacks signee, got the rebound and made his way to the three-point line uncontested to beat the buzzer for the one-point lead entering the fourth quarter.

While the play was a momentum changer, the game was far from over and Jacksonville had other chances, Joyner said.

“They’ve made that play, what, about six, seven, eight times during the year and executed it successfully,” Joyner said. “It would have given us a big momentum boost. I don’t thinkit was a letdown, I thought we came down and stopped executing.

“The whole thing came down to we stopped executing.”

Parkview made it 38-35 when Emmanuel Adoyl got a rebound and putback to open the fourth quarter. Xavier Huskey made a bank shot to pull the Red Devils within 40-37 with 6:13 to go.

Anton Beard rebounded and scored for the 42-37 Parkview lead and then Appleby cut it to 42-39 with free throws with 4:19 to go. Appleby took a charge with 4:02 left, but his jumper was in and out, one of several shots that were just off for the Red Devils, and Imara Ready made a floater to make it 44-39 Parkview.

Jacksonville (25-4) would get no closer than four points the rest of the way, and that came when Terrell Brown got a rebound and putback to cut it to 48-44 as Joyner called timeout with 21 seconds left.

The Red Devils had to foul, but after Williams fouled Ross, the Patriots ran off almost 10 seconds before Brown fouled Stephan Lambert, who capped the scoring with two free throws with 9.3 seconds left.

“We were one or two plays away from making it a little more interesting,” Joyner said.

Appleby led all scorers with 19 points despite his injury. Ross led Parkview with 13 and got six rebounds and was named MVP, and Imara Ready added 11 points for Parkview (26-5).

With Brown, who led all rebounders with nine, limiting Ross, Parkview got seven rebounds from three different players to take a 36-25 edge in the category.

“Normally, we will shoot a better percentage to offset the fact that we’re getting beat on the boards,” Joyner said of the Devils, who have been outsized by opponents most of the year.

“We didn’t do that in the fourth quarter, and I think that’s what hurt us.”