Friday, January 27, 2012

SPORTS >> Devils sweep West Memphis

Leader sports editor

Jacksonville won its fifth consecutive game Tuesday night, picking up a big conference road victory over always-tough West Memphis 54-44. The Lady Red Devils also got an important win to run their winning streak to four games, running over the West Memphis ladies 66-40 in an impressive road performance.

The Red Devils (15-3, 5-1) took complete control of the game in the first quarter and raced out to a 21-6 lead. They were only able to add a point to that lead in the second quarter, outscoring the Blue Devils 13-12 and taking a 34-18 lead into the locker room.

After the break, the home team rallied.

“They changed defenses on us a couple of times and it took us a minute to get adjusted to it,” Jacksonville coach Victor Joyner said. “We never panicked or anything like that. They just did a good job of making some changes they had to make to try and get back into the ball game.”

The Blue Devils stayed in a 2-3 zone for most of the first half, but Jacksonville’s outside shooting forced a change of strategy. Guards Dustin House, Dwayne Waller and Justin McCleary each hit three pointers in the first half.

In the second half, West Memphis went to a matchup zone and ran some man defense. Once the Red Devils made the proper adjustments, they began to work the ball inside for points in the paint or trips to the free-throw line.

Free-throw shooting was one area that wasn’t impressive for Jacksonvlle. The Red Devils made just 11 of 21 attempts, but Joyner didn’t seem too worried about the one bad night.

“We’ve been pretty good at the line most of the year,” Joyner said.

House led Jacksonville with 12 points while post player Tirrell Brown added 11.

“House did a good job staying within his game,” Joyner said. “He’s not quick enough to get to the rim, but he’s tall and has a good jump shot. He went as far as he could and when someone came out to get him, he pulled up and shot.”

Jacksonville was back at home against Mountain Home last night after The Leader deadlines.

The game against the Bombers closes the first round-robin in 6A East Conference play.

The Red Devils will take a break Tuesday before resuming conference play on Friday against first-place Little Rock Hall.

The Warriors handed the Red Devils their last loss on Jan. 6. in Little Rock. Hall controlled every aspect of that game and won 65-52. The Warriors entered last night’s action still unbeaten in league play.

Behind Jacksonville in third place is Jonesboro. Little Rock Parkview is fourth with losses to each of the top three teams.

Parkview leads the girls standings while Hall is second and Jacksonville third.