Monday, November 19, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Lonoke ladies come back on White Hall

Leader sports editor

The Lady Jackrabbits suffered their first loss of the young basketball season in the first round of the Southeast Classic last week, but bounced back and closed with two wins to improve to 3-1 this season. Lonoke lost its opening game 54-41 to Pine Bluff on Tuesday. They came back and won two close games, beating Dumas 45-42 on Thursday, then coming from behind to beat White Hall 42-41 on Saturday.

“I think we did some growing up in this tournament for sure,” Lonoke coach Nathan Morris said. “Even in the loss to Pine Bluff there were still some bright spots. They’re probably just better than us right now. In the other two games we showed some signs of growing up. We handled some adversity and found a way to win.”

The two victories came in different ways. Lonoke built a nice lead and had to hang on to beat Dumas. In Saturday’s game, the Lady Jackrabbits trailed 31-24 after three quarters before outscoring White Hall 18-10 in the fourth to get the victory.

Callie Whitfield went 3 of 4 from the three-point line in the fourth quarter to lead the rally. Kerasha Johnson then hit the game-winning free throw with seconds left to earn the victory.

“They were throwing different defenses at us and I thought we handled things ok,” Morris said. “Callie really got us back into things. She got two three pointers off our transition and kicking it back outside. She got another out of our offense.”

Lonoke managed just six points in the third quarter after 6-foot-1 sophomore Eboni Willis got into foul trouble. Willis scored 10 points, including eight in the first half.

“We went to her and she was really effective in the first half,” Morris said. “When she got into foul trouble we had a little trouble figuring out how we wanted to attack and we got a little behind. I was really proud of the girls though. They could have easily, easily just said we’re beat, let’s just finish this one out, learn from it and try to get better. But they didn’t do that. They fought to get back in it and found a way to win.”

Whitfield led Lonoke with 13 points. Johnson and Savannah Holman each added seven.

The Lonoke boys and girls played at Joe T. Robinson on Tuesday after Leader deadlines. It was the season opener for the boys. Look for details of those games in Saturday’s edition of The Leader. Lonoke’s boys and girls will be back in action on Monday in the Hot Springs High School Invitational.