Tuesday, February 14, 2012

SPORTS >> Red Devils cruise past rival Lions

Leader sportswriter

Jacksonville got a clean sweep of Searcy on Friday in White County. The Lady Red Devils stopped a two-game skid to win 64-52 while the boys had very little trouble in dispatching the Lions 64-22.

The Lady Red Devils had lost to No. 2 Parkview and No. 5 Hall in its previous two games, but bounced back on Friday. Jacksonville wasn’t able to duplicate the blowout win it got at home over the Lady Lions, but didn’t have much trouble away from its home gym.

Just as in the previous meeting, Jacksonville’s pressure gave Searcy fits and forced several turnovers. Unlike the last meeting, Jacksonville failed to convert the turnovers into points on several opportunities.

“That’s really the only thing I wasn’t pleased with,” Jacksonville coach Katrina Mimms said. “We just didn’t finish like we’re capable of doing. We’d get the turnovers, but we’d walk or double dribble or miss a layup. The defense was good. We played defense pretty well, we just didn’t finish in transition like we need to.”

Still, Jacksonville (16-5, 6-4) was able to build an early lead that reached as much as 22 points in the third. Searcy (8-14, 3-7) got hot from outside in the fourth and hit four three pointers to pull the final margin back to a more respectable figure.

“They made a good run late but I never felt like we didn’t have control of the game,” Mimms said. “They played us closer than they did last time and some of that is to their credit. They shot the ball pretty well, especially late in the game. Overall it’s a good win. We just wanted to get a win after Hall and Parkview, so it’s a good win any way you look at it.”

Junior guard Jessica Jackson led Jacksonville with 20 points.

The boys game was over almost as soon as it started as Jacksonville bludgeoned the Lions 64-22. Searcy (6-17, 1-9)actually held an 8-6 lead early in the first quarter, but trailed 25-8 after one quarter and 44-11 at halftime. Jacksonville (18-4, 8-2) went on a 38-3 run that included six consecutive successful three-point shots.

“We shot the ball well and that was refreshing to see,” Jacksonville coach Victor Joyner said. “They went to the zone and we shot it extremely well when they did that.”

Joyner got to play all his players considerable minutes, and was pleased to see no drop off in intensity, especially defensively.

“The first and second five really played with a lot of defensive intensity,” Joyner said. “They came out and really challenged them on the ball and off the ball. Everybody committed themselves defensively and that’s what we’re trying to get across, so that was good to see.”

Sophomore guard Sergio Berkley led Jacksonville with 10 points.

Jacksonville was on the road Tuesday against Jonesboro and stays on the road Friday at Marion.