Tuesday, January 31, 2012

SPORTS >> JHS ladies hang on, knock off Bombers

Leader sports editor

The Lady Red Devils are sometimes making things a bit more exciting than they should be, but they’re still coming away with wins. That was the case again Friday night when Jacksonville beat Mountain Home 46-42 despite the Lady Bombers controlling the pace for most of the game.

“We want to get to 60,” Jacksonville coach Katrina Mimms said. “We feel like if we can get to 60 we’ve given ourselves the best chance to win. We didn’t get there, but we found a way to pull it out. So I’ll take it. A win is a win in this league.”

Jacksonville appeared to be taking control of the game when sophomore guard Tiffany Smith hit a three pointer with 3:50 left that gave the Lady Devils their biggest lead of the game at 43-34, but it was the last basket Jacksonville would make the rest of the way.

Over the next 2:16, Mountain Home added a bucket and a free throw while Jacksonville made one of four attempts. With the score44-37, Lady Bomber Anna Floyd hit her fifth three pointer of the game to make it 44-40 with 1:10 remaining.

Smith was fouled but missed both attempts at the line with 53 second left. Mountain Home stayed patient on offense. After a miss, Katie Kepler got an offensive rebound and putback to make it 44-42 with 25 seconds remaining. Jacksonville got up the floor quickly and Sacha Richardson took a three-point shot from the corner and missed. Jacksonville’s Jessica Jackson got the rebound and was fouled. Jackson made both free throws with 10 seconds remaining to seal the win.

Since things worked out, Mimms wasn’t too upset about Richardson’s ill-advised shot.

“The poor kid does all our dirty work,” Mimms said. “She’s our best defender and it’s her job every game to guard the other team’s best player. She is our dirty-work kid and she doesn’t really look to score a whole lot. When we finally went man number 21 (Floyd) had four threes. After that she only got one and that was because Sacha was on her. Without her playing defense the way she did, we may not be in the position we were in. So you can’t scream at her too much.”

The Lady Red Devils began controlling the action late in the third quarter. Jacksonville scored the final eight points of the quarter, turning a 27-26 deficit into a 34-27 lead by the start of the fourth.

Freshman guard Shakayla Hill closed the half with a steal. She got the steal at midcourt, passed to Jackson, who went back to Hill for the bucket to end the third quarter.

“We started to get control in the third and then just hung for dear life from there,” Mimms said. “You know, just hang on.”

Only four Lady Red Devils scored with Jackson leading scorers with 23 points. Kepler led all scorers and rebounders with 16 points and 13 boards. Floyd finished with 15 for Mountain Home. Hill scored 10 points, grabbed six rebounds, got five steals and dished out five assists. Nichole Bennett had seven points and seven rebounds for Jacksonville.

The Lady Devils were off Tuesday, and return to action on Friday at home against Little Rock Hall.