Tuesday, November 06, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Devils, Falcons impressive at first jamboree

Leader sports editor

The Jacksonville and North Pulaski boys basketball teams opened the exhibition portion of the season on Saturday in the annual Jacksonville Jamboree. The all-day affair saw seven teams face off for one half against two other teams.

Jacksonville divided into two groups, varsity and junior varsity. Jacksonville and North Pulaski each played one half against JA Fair and another half against each other to close the festivities.

Jacksonville coach Vic Joyner got about what he expected out of the event.

“Jamborees are just your first test to see where you are,” Joyner said. “I thought we competed well. We saw some things to work on. With so many of our main players still in football, I thought the ones we had out there did a good job.”

North Pulaski coach Roy Jackson was also pleased. With the football Falcons not making the playoffs, Jackson had most of his roster available on Saturday, but they weren’t all up to speed.

“I was able to bring most of the football guys over, but they haven’t had but about one full practice,” Jackson said. “It helped to be able to bring the whole team and have a chance to see them as a unit, but you could tell we weren’t full in sync. But for the first time out of the gate, I thought the kids played hard and competed really well.”

Jacksonville’s junior varsity squad faced off against Pulaski Robinson to open play on Saturday afternoon. Those two squads played two halves with Jacksonville coming out on top 45-33. Sophomore Tedrick Wolfe and junior Kahlil Hart led the way in that game.

“Tedrick came out and did a really good job for a guy that hadn’t been out there,” Joyner said. “I thought Hart played with a lot of aggression and poise. He handled himself really well.”

North Pulaski and Fair struggled offensively, which Jackson said was somewhat expected. The Falcons ended up with a 27-21 advantage when the half ended. Jacksonville’s varsity finished with a 13-point advantage over Fair and beat North Pulaski 37-29.

“I thought Joe Aiken came on and had a good turnout,” Jackson said. “I thought my freshman Rashawn Langston played well. Andrew Wilson played well also and I thought Eric Mouton made some good plays at times. Overall I was pleased because everybody played hard. We’re going to have a little bit of depth so there are going to be nights where different people step up as long as everybody continues to play hard.”

Jacksonville kept it simple on defense with the varsity squad, playing only man defense in both halves. Senior, three-year starter Justin McCleary led the way. Detailed statistics weren’t kept, but McCleary was the leading scorer and go-to man on offense from his point-guard position.

Senior post player Keith Charleston and junior guard Sergio Berkley were also singled out for praise from Joyner.

“I thought those three guys all played solid, a little ahead maybe of where you expect to be at this point,” Joyner said. “We didn’t press, didn’t trap, no zone defense, but I thought the veterans did a pretty decent job with what we were trying to do.”