Saturday, December 15, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Lonoke tops SS-Batesville

Leader sportswriter

A brief lull in the middle of the second quarter was the only thing that prevented Lonoke from dominating the entire 32 minutes against visiting Southside Batesville on Tuesday as the Jackrabbits won big 58-39 at the LHS gymnasium.

Lonoke took an early 10-0 lead as the result of a quick start, but the Southerners cut it to two early in the second quarter with a 7-0 run. The Jackrabbits got it all back before the half, and began to pull away completely late in the third quarter.

The victory helped erase the slate for Lonoke after the Jackrabbits lost their 4A-2 Conference opener to Dollarway last week in a blowout.

“We had a lot to work on after last week,” Jackrabbits coach Dean Campbell said. “Dollarway took it to us and really exposed a lot of things we needed to work on. Sometimes you need those things. We watched film on Wednesday. On Thursday, we did nothing but block-out drills and ran. Friday, we worked on our half-court defense, and Monday, we did a little bit of everything.”

The refocus on fundamentals paid off for Lonoke early against the Southerners. Junior guard Blake Mack put the first points up with a drive in the lane, followed by a defensive rebound and coast-to-coast layup by Jamel Rankin at the 7:04 mark of the first quarter to give the Jackrabbits a 4-0 lead.

Junior guard Darrius McCall got in on the action with a pull-up jumper in the lane, while senior post player Reid McKenzie widened the margin to 8-0 with a basket converted from a McCall steal with 6:32 remaining in the opening period. Rankin then put Lonoke up 10-0 with a 15 footer.

“It’s always good when you’re working on things in practice, and you see it carry over for the game,” Campbell said. “We can pick things out all the time, but I thought we did some things better tonight, and I was pleased with that.”

Lonoke dominated the boards, particularly on the defensive side. The Southerners did not get a second-chance basket until the 4:40 mark of the first quarter when senior Jake Henderson pulled down an offensive rebound and put it back up to cut Lonoke’s lead to 12-5.

The Jackrabbits led 20-11 heading into the second quarter, but Southside came back with seven unanswered points to begin the second quarter, including a three-point basket by Taylor Ellis with 5:42 remaining in the half to cut it to 20-18. Lonoke put the margin back to double digits before halftime with a three-point basket by Tykel Gray and a three pointer by McCall inside a minute to give the Jackrabbits a 28-18 lead at the break.

“We had opportunities to get more touches, but didn’t do it,” Campbell said. “Then, we came out in the third quarter and attacked them a little bit better, we moved the ball a lot more. We broke them down defensively and made them guard multiple passes during that time.”

Lonoke put the game out or reach by outscoring the Southerners 19-6 in the third quarter, including one bizarre trip that resulted in a three-point basket for Mack with a simultaneous offensive foul called away from the ball with 5:48 remaining in the third. The officials conversed for a number of minutes before rewarding Mack the basket while charging the Jackrabbits with a team foul at the same time to the bewilderment of both sides.

Rankin led the Jackrabbits with 15 points while McCall had 10 points. McKenzie finished with eight points and seven rebounds while Mack had nine points. Trey Sisk led Southside with nine points.