Saturday, January 12, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Lonoke gets road sweep of Marianna

Leader sportswriter

The Lonoke Jackrabbits earned their second-straight 4A-2 Conference road win on Tuesday, beating the Marianna Trojans 53-37.

Lonoke used several players in its rotation in the opening quarter and it worked as the Jackrabbits jumped out to a 19-10 lead at the end of the first. By the end of the half, Lonoke pushed its lead to 30-16.

“We played a lot of kids in the first quarter and second quarter,” said Lonoke coach Dean Campbell. “(Marianna) plays a lot as well. I thought defensively we played really hard. We did some good things offensively, especially to put up 19. We still left some (points) out there with free throws, but all-in-all I was real pleased with the way we played.”

The Trojans were able to outscore the Jackrabbits 13-8 in the third quarter, which cut the Lonoke lead to single digits by the start of the fourth. But the ‘Rabbits racked up 15 points in the final quarter to leave Marianna with the double-digit conference win.

“I was real happy,” Campbell said of his team’s win. “It’s always tough to win there. It’s been a couple of years since we’ve won at Marianna. But we came out early and set the tone at the beginning, and really mashed, and maybe went a little bit beyond the effort and intensity that they brought. I was real happy to see that.”

The win improves Lonoke’s record to 9-4 overall and 3-1 in conference play. It was a solid win for the ‘Rabbits, but Campbell would like to see his team play with more urgency at the end of games.

“We still have to learn how to close,” Campbell said. “Play with more of a killer instinct and finish teams off, but we’re getting better and that’s what I was happy to see. (Marianna’s) graduated 10 starters over the past two years, but nevertheless, they’re long and athletic and they bring a lot of pressure. And our guys handled it pretty well.”

Eight different players scored for Lonoke in the winning effort. Senior post player Reid McKenzie led the way with 12 points. Dra Offord scored 11. Darian Young scored seven. Darrius McCall and Blake Mack added five points apiece. Caleb Bracy and Zack Risner each scored four points, and Jamel Rankin added two.

In the girls’ game, the Lady Jackrabbits got back into the winning column with a 55-41 win over the Lady Trojans to improve to 8-8 on the season. Lonoke held a two-point lead at the end of the first quarter, but an 18-point second quarter catapulted the Lady ‘Rabbits to a 29-14 lead at halftime.

The sophomores showed out for Lonoke as Kerasha Johnson led the Lady ‘Rabbits with 16 points. Haiden Jeter and Eboni Willis scored 10 points apiece. Amanda Sexton scored eight points. Callie Whitfield added seven. Riely Rowton scored three points and Jasalyn Truelove added one.

The ‘Rabbits and Lady ‘Rabbits hosted Heber Springs yesterday in another 4A-2 Conference game. Look for details of those games in Wednesday’s edition of The Leader. Both teams continue conference play on Tuesday at Pine Bluff Dollarway.