Tuesday, January 08, 2013

SPORT STORY >> ’Rabbits get big win at Newport

Leader sportswriter

Lonoke played its first 4A-2 Conference road game Friday at Newport, and left with its second conference win of the season as the Jackrabbits beat the Greyhounds 50-44.

The Jackrabbits (8-4, 2-1) led through all four quarters, but could never gain a comfortable lead over the Greyhounds. Lonoke led 15-6 after the first quarter, but was outscored in the next two quarters, which made it a six-point game entering the fourth.

“We seem to find ways to keep people around,” said Lonoke coach Dean Campbell. “When we had to towards the end, I thought we did a good job of controlling the tempo and controlling the game the last four to five minutes. We spread them out, controlled the tempo, and made them come and get us. I felt like we did a good job of executing on the offensive end.

“There are a few defensive things we have to tie up. I was fairly happy with how we ended the game execution-wise, and I think that’s something we can build on.”

Newport outscored Lonoke 13-12 in the second quarter and 11-9 in the third, but the Jackrabbits’ effort in the opening quarter gave them a 36-30 lead at the start of the fourth. In addition to defensive play, Campbell said free throws are an area his team will need to improve on as the season progresses.

Lonoke made 60 percent of its free throws in the first half, but only 50 percent in the second half on 14 attempts.

“We were 19 of 34 from the free-throw line,” Campbell said. “We were 12 for 20 in the first half, and as you can tell it didn’t get any better in the second half. Some games we shoot real well and other games we don’t. That has to improve for us to be able to separate ourselves during games and separate ourselves from others in our conference.”

Campbell was pleased however with his team’s overall effort on the boards.

“I thought for the most part we rebounded well, better than we have been,” Campbell said. “That’s kind of been an issue for us. I don’t feel like we gave them too many second-chance points, because (Newport) has some size. But the few we did give up always seemed to be at crucial times.

“Nobody played an outstanding game, but I didn’t feel like anybody played really bad either. We allowed them to stick around and we played with them, but we brought it out there at the end, and did well enough to win the game.”

Blake Mack led the way scoring-wise for Lonoke as he finished with 14 points. Darrius McCall scored 13 and Jamel Rankin added nine.

The Lady Rabbits didn’t fare so well in its game with Newport, as the Lady Greyhounds won 43-35. The Lady Rabbits have battled injuries all season, which has been detrimental to a team that features eight sophomores, three juniors, and zero seniors.

Lonoke’s boys and girls continued 4A-2 Conference play yesterday at Marianna, and will play again Friday at home against Heber Springs.