Saturday, January 12, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Red Devils slam hosting Warriors

Leader sports editor

Jacksonville got another sweep in 5A Central Conference play on Tuesday, this time it was on the road as the Red Devils and Lady Red Devils knocked off Little Rock Christian Academy 64-35 and 67-49 respectively.

The boys game was over early in the second quarter. Jacksonville started out with heavy full-court pressure and the Warriors couldn’t handle it. The Red Devil guard duo of seniors Aaron Smith and Justin McCleary torched LRCA early with steals and transition baskets.

Smith and McCleary scored eight points in the first quarter as the Red Devils built a 20-4 lead. They also combined for the first eight points of the second quarter to push the margin to 28-4.

Moments later, Jacksonville coach Vic Joyner began using his second and third string players, and he wasn’t pleased with the result.

“One of the hardest parts of this game is keeping kids motivated,” Joyner said. “They looked up at that scoreboard and just relaxed. Good teams don’t do that. Good teams keep that intensity up, especially when you’re coming off the bench fighting for playing time. My bench did not play well in that first half.”

The Warriors (1-10, 0-2) outscored Jacksonville 19-18 in the second quarter to go into halftime down 38-23.

The Warriors’ respite only lasted as long as halftime. Jacksonville (9-3, 2-0) outscored the home team by 16 in the third quarter to take a 31-point margin into the final quarter and put the mercy rule clock into effect.

Other than the 19-point second quarter allowed by the Red Devils, LRCA managed no more than six points in any other quarter.

“Our defense was good most of the night,” Joyner said. “In the second half I thought the bench players did a lot better. We still struggle sometimes scoring, but if they’ll play defense the offense will come along.”

Smith finished with 17 points to lead all scorers. McCleary added 15.

The Lady Red Devils didn’t start as well as the boys, but they finished just as strong, beating Little Rock Christian Academy 67-49. The Lady Warriors (7-8, 1-1) outscored Jacksonville 14-9 in the first quarter and held serve in the second. Both teams scored 15 points in the second period and went into halftime with Little Rock Christian leading 29-24.

Jacksonville battled back to take a 39-38 lead at the end of the third quarter, then dominated the fourth. The Lady Devils finally found their shooting touch and scored 28 points in the final period.

“I haven’t done the statistics, but I bet we got five shots in each of our first two possessions, and missed them all,” Jacksonville girls coach Katrina Mimms said. “We probably missed close to our first 20 shots of the game. We just couldn’t hit anything.”

Jacksonville got a little help from an unexpected source. Junior guard Keke Alcorn hit three three pointers in the second half and finished with 11 points. Alcorn’s playing time picked up with the absence of junior Tiffany Smith, who is out indefinitely with back problems.

Senior Jessica Jackson and sophomore Shakyla Hill each scored 17 points while Markela Bryles added 16 for the Lady Devils.

Jacksonville (8-5, 2-0) played at cross-town rival North Pulaski last night after The Leader deadlines. Look for details of that game in Wednesday’s edition of The Leader. They will be back at home on Tuesday against McClellan, a game that will have huge implications in the boys standings.