Tuesday, December 20, 2011

SPORTS >> Devils cruise past Clarksville

Leader sports editor

It took Jacksonville a few minutes to establish control, but once it did, the Red Devils never really let Clarksville back into the game. The end result was a 59-45 Jacksonville victory over University of Arkansas commitment Dederick Lee and the Panthers in the Ron Crawford Arkansas Hoops Challenge at Maumelle High School on Saturday. Jacksonville and Clarksville made the fourth of eight high profile matchups in the event.

Each game was divided into 16-minute halves instead of the tradition eight-minute quarters.

Jacksonville hindered Lee into several rushed shots, and held him to 14 points on five of 24 shooting.

“That was the plan,” Jacksonville coach Vic Joyner said. “We knew if he gets his feet set, he can nail it. We wanted him on the go. We didn’t want him to be able to take any set shots. We wanted him off balance and that’s what we did.”

The Red Devils were slightly sluggish at the start. Clarksville’s Zac Stumbaugh stole the ball and went the distance for a layup to start the game. On Jacksonville’s next possession, Preston South stole the ball, dished to teammate Trey Norris who missed a three pointer. South got the rebound and putback to give Clarksville a quick 4-0 lead.

It was just about Clarksville’s last highlight of the game.

Jacksonville went on a 15-2 run that ended with Keith Charleston following a fast break layup miss by slamming home the offensive board.

Clarksville finally ended an eight-minute drought when South hit a layup with 7:39 left in the first half.

Clarksville got back to within five one two Lee free throws that made it 18-13 with 4:40 left in the half, but it was all Jacksonville the rest of the way before the break. An Aaron Smith three pointer started an 8-0 run. Crushawn Hayes hit a three pointer with 14 seconds left that gave the Red Devils their biggest lead of the game at 36-18. Lee ended the half with a layup that made it 36-20.

The Red Devils took their foot off the gas slightly in the second half and the tempo slowed. Jacksonville made a concerted effort to run a half court game and get the ball inside.

Center Tirrell Brown, who played just five minutes of the first half with foul trouble, scored 10 of his team-high 13 points in the second half.

Jacksonville made 24 of 47 shot attempts, but were only eight of 17 from the free-throw line. The Panthers hit 17 of 20 from the free-throw line, but made just 13 of 42 attempts from the field.

Lee led all scorers with 14 points. Jarren Thompson added 12 for Clarksville while South scored 11.

Brown was the only Red Devil in double figures but four players scored eight, including, Smith, Charleston, Justin McCleary and Xavier Huskey.

The win lifted Jacksonville’s record to 7-2heading into the Christmas break. Jacksonville plays at home at 5:30 p.m. today in the final game of the Red Devil Classic against Bryant.