Monday, December 10, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Jackrabbits clobber Cardinals

Leader sportswriter

The Lonoke Lady Jackrabbits basketball team has been hampered by injuries as of late, but it didn’t slow them down in Tuesday’s 4-2A Conference opener as they clobbered Pine Bluff Dollarway 66-12 at the Lonoke High School gym. 

It’s been an uncharacteristically bad season for the Lady Cardinals (0-7, 0-1), and things didn’t get any easier against a depleted Lonoke team. Despite missing two key players, the Lady Jackrabbits (6-3, 1-0) dominated every aspect of the game.

Lonoke out-rebounded Dollarway 30-12, forced 18 turnovers while committing just eight, and made 80 percent of its free throws. The Lady Cardinals were 0 for 7 from the line.
“We’re real hurt,” said Lonoke coach Nathan Morris. “We’re real banged up. So I’m proud of the ones that had to play with pretty much no rest. I’m real happy. They played hard. You have to take what you can get, and you have to work hard in games like that. We were able to work on some of the things we needed to work on, the little things, and hopefully it gets us ready for the next conference game.”

The Lady Rabbits didn’t have much trouble in the opening quarter as they led 13-2 by the start of the second. Junior two guard Savannah Holman led Lonoke with seven points in the first quarter, and managed to do so with a banged-up wrist on her shooting hand.

Dollarway’s luck didn’t get any better in the second quarter. The Lady Cardinals committed nine turnovers in the quarter and couldn’t manage a single point. Lonoke scored 17 in the quarter to take a commanding 30-2 lead at halftime. Sophomore point guard Kerasha Johnson scored seven of her eight total points in the second quarter.

In the third quarter, Dollarway was able to more than double its point total thanks to four points by junior post player Akkeva Howard. But Lonoke pushed its lead even further with 16 points in the quarter, eight of which came from sophomore post player Eboni Willis.

Lonoke invoked the sportsmanship rule at the start of the fourth, leading 46-6. Even with a continuous clock, the Lady Rabbits racked up 20 points in the quarter. Dollarway did score the final basket on a driving layup by Candra Hayes with 1 second remaining, which made the final score 66-12.

Blocking out and rebounding, especially on the offensive end, has been an area Morris has wanted his young team to improve on as the season progresses. Lonoke was able to do that with relative ease against Dollarway, but Morris still sees room for improvement even though he was pleased overall with his team’s play. 

“We blocked out and we got a few defensive boards, but we still didn’t get a lot of offensive boards,” Morris said. “Of course we made a lot of baskets, and I don’t think there were too many misses. But that still has to be an area of improvement, and staying in front of the ball on defense.

“I think that even when we played zone in the fourth quarter, they still got by us. Our girls have got to do a better job of keeping the ball out in front of us and in space. We definitely have to get better at that.”

Willis led all scorers with 23 points. She also had six rebounds and three blocks. Callie Whitfield scored 19 points, and had four assists and two steals. Holman scored 10 and had five assists. Howard scored eight of Dollarway’s 12 points.

The Lady Rabbits will look to stay unbeaten in conference play against Southside Batesville on Tuesday at Lonoke.