Friday, January 20, 2012

SPORTS >> Jackrabbits get season sweep over Greyhounds

Leader sportswriter

Early foul trouble for senior leader Tarrale Watson was easily overcome by Lonoke as the Jackrabbits downed Newport 66-56 at the Lonoke High School gymnasium on Tuesday, improving their record to 12-6 overall and 5-2 in the 4A-2 Conference.

Sophomore Blake Mack picked up the slack offensively to lead the Jackrabbits with 23 points while defensive play improved across the lineup.

“I thought as a team, we played about as well as we have all year,” Jackrabbits coach Dean Campbell said. “We played well together as a group, and a lot of guys stepped up on defense. They understood that when you have starters out, everyone has to contribute.

“Blake did a good job of scoring in transition, and that can only help his confidence.”

Watson sat out most of the first half after picking up three quick fouls, but he returned with a vengeance in the second half for most of his 17 points.

“When he came back in, I talked to him about not trying to make up for lost time,” Campbell said. “He was able to do that and had a good second half.”

For Newport, standout D.J. Rucker led the way with 23 points.

“Late, they tried to pressure us, and we were able to get to the basket,” Campbell said. “We feel like if you have to do that to us at that point, one, we know we can get up on the defense and two, we can get to the rim.”

The Lonoke Lady Jackrabbits put together one of their best performances of the season in a runaway 54-23 home victory over Newport on Tuesday.

Seniors led the way as Derrika Mays scored a game-high 12 points while guard Kaitlyn Tate finished with 10 points.

Underclassmen also shined in the 4A-2 Conference victory as sophomore Savannah Holman matched Tate’s totals with 10 points while freshman post player Eboni Willis added eight points for the Lady Jackrabbits (11-9, 5-2).

Lonoke outscored the Lady Greyhounds 23-3 in the second quarter for a commanding 33-10 halftime lead after going 4 for 4 from three-point range, including a pair of treys for Tate.

Holman and Mary Davis also scored threes in the first half while freshman guard Kerasha Johnson scored all six of her points for the game in the second quarter.

“We got a lot of those threes with good penetration and kick outs from our guards,” Lonoke coach Nathan Morris said. “We played hard. We didn’t handle the ball particularly well, but we played hard offensively and defensively. If we do that, we can survive some of the turnovers.”