Friday, February 15, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Red Devils sweep Helena

Leader sports editor

The Jacksonville Red Devils and Lady Devils got easy wins on Tuesday, sweeping Helena-West Helena Central in a pair of 5A Central Conference games at the Devil’s Den. Five Red Devils scored in double figures in the boys 82-58 win. Despite the 24-point final margin, Jacksonville broke the mercy rule barrier by taking a 63-28 lead midway through the third quarter.

“We were a little sluggish to start, but that’s to be expected when you have unusual circumstances like we had,” Jacksonville assistant coach Jerry Wilson said. Wilson coached the game in the absence of head coach Vic Joyner, who missed to due to illness. “Plus Helena is very athletic. It takes a little while to get used to how athletic they are.”

Jacksonville led by just three points midway through the second quarter, but blew it open with a 43-11 run from late in the second quarter to midway through the third.

Justin McCleary led the way for Jacksonville with 16 points, including 13 in the second half. Aaron Smith scored 11 while Sergio Berkley, Brandon Brockman and Keith Charleston all scored 10 points for Jacksonville.

Senior post player Frederick Bedford led Central with 22 points while Anthony Lewis scored 14.

Jacksonville is now 11-1 in conference play and can wrap up the league’s No. 1 seed in the state tournament with a win in either of its final two games. It can secure an outright conference championship by winning both games or by McClellan losing either of its final two games. The four playoff spots are locked in the boys’ division. Jacksonville and McClellan are the likely top two seeds. Pulaski Academy entered last night’s game at Jacksonville a half game ahead of Mills for third place. The Comets, the only team to beat Jacksonville, still have to make up the Jan. 15 postponement at North Pulaski on Thursday. The Bruins won 44-35 at Mills on Jan. 25, and host the Comets to close the regular season next Friday.

The Lady Red Devils got practically no resistance in their 82-27 victory. Jacksonville led 29-4 after one quarter and 71-18 after three periods. Jessica Jackson led the way with 22 points. Merkela Bryles added 13, Tiffany Smith 12 and Shakyla Hill 11.

The ladies’ division is settled with two games to go. No matter what happens, Jacksonville will be the No. 1 seed, and will be outright champs with one more win. Little Rock Christian Academy is the two seed with Pulaski Academy third and Sylvan Hills fourth.