Wednesday, January 16, 2013

SPORTS TORY >> Devils dominate at Falcon’s Nest

Leader sports editor

Most probably expected Jacksonville to beat rival North Pulaski Friday. None likely expected a 30-point blowout, but that’s what happened as the Red Devils went into the Falcon’s Nest and dominated their host 66-36 to stay undefeated in conference play.

Jacksonville coach Vic Joyner was as surprised as anyone that his team controlled the game the way it did.

“No I did not expect that,” Joyner said. “We worked on some new things to spread things out and create more space. That’s helped with our turnovers. We took care of the ball after the first quarter and we moved the ball well on offense. We moved the ball around and got open looks inside. We just executed well and ended up with a 30-point lead.”

The Red Devils threatened to run away with it right out of the gate. Junior Sergio Berkley scored five-straight points to give Jacksonville a 16-5 lead with 45 seconds left in the first quarter, but Joe Aikens came up with two steals and two assists to close the quarter. The first went to sophomore Steven Farrior who converted a three-point play. On the next possession, Aikens hit Aaren Scruggs for a shot at the buzzer to make it 16-10.

The second quarter is when Jacksonville began to dominate inside. Senior forward Kahleel Hart scored nine points in the second to match Berkley’s nine in the first. That created some space outside and sophomore Kerry Knight drained his first three-point attempt to give the Red Devils a 32-16 lead. Aikens scored six points early in the quarter, but it was all the points the Falcons could produce the entire period.

Berkley scored his last two points in the final minute of the frame to give Jacksonville a 34-16 lead at the break.

Jacksonville post player Brandon Brockman became the nine-point man in the third quarter as the Red Devils began feeding him inside. Hart scored six more and point guard Justin McCleary even posted up for two points as the Red Devils stretched the lead to as much as 29 in the third, thanks in part to a technical foul on Jackson for arguing a foul call on Farrior in the back court.

Senior Aaron Smith hit two free throws with 7:01 left in the game to make it 62-31 and enact the continuous mercy-rule clock.

Hart led Jacksonville (10-3, 3-0) with 17 points. Berkley scored 11, as did McCleary, who also finished with game highs of nine rebounds and seven assists.

Jacksonville dominated the boards with a 28-19 rebounding advantage. They also made 13 more free throws, hitting 18 of 29 from the foul line while North Pulaski (7-7, 1-2) made just 5 of 9.

The Red Devils game with McClellan on Tuesday canceled. They will play at Helena-West Helena Central on Friday.

North Pulaski’s game with Mills on Tuesday was also canceled. The Falcons travel to Little Rock Christian Academy on Friday.