Saturday, December 14, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Devils earn their first win at Mt. St. Mary

Leader sports editor

The Lady Red Devils put one in the win column Tuesday night, taking a short trip and beating Mount St. Mary Academy 63-39 in Little Rock.

Jacksonville, 1-3, came out trapping on defense and it troubled the Belles. The Lady Red Devils quickly jumped out to a 15-5 lead and continued to stretch the lead throughout the first three quarters.

“I give our kids a lot of credit,” Jacksonville coach William Rountree said. “They’ve played an extremely tough schedule. They lost a game to the weather and have had a big gap in between games. For them to come out like they did and then to keep it rolling, that’s a credit to them and their focus. They did a really good job.”

Rountree alternated between fullcourt and half-court traps out of man-to-man defense, but foul trouble forced the Lady Devils into a zone at times.

That created many of Jacksonville’s first-quarter points, but it wasn’t the only way Jacksonville created offensive success.

“I thought we had good balance,” Rountree said. “We got the ball inside a little better. Scoring was very balanced. Tiffany (Smith) and Keke (Alcorn) shot the ball well. And we got good play from Ashli Evans, Sacha Richardson and Jerika Hardaway as well. I’m really very encouraged.”

Getting the ball inside hasn’t been much of an option for Jacksonville until recently. Junior post player Markela Bryles, who started last year but didn’t join the team until last week, added an inside presence that the guard-heavy Lady Devils were lacking.

“She’s not big for a post player, but she’s the biggest one we’ve got and she can play down there,” Rountree said. “She’s got good touch from close range and she can score. She gives us another piece to the puzzle, which makes everybody better.”

The Lady Red Devils led 29-14 at halftime and 47-22 at the end of three quarters. Rountree used the fourth quarter to get several players more game experience.

Three Lady Devils shared leading scorer honors. Smith, Alcorn and Antrice McCoy each scored 13 points while Bryles added 12.

Jacksonville will play at 1 p.m. today in the Cabot Pre-Holiday tournament. The Lady Devils weren’t originally scheduled to appear in the tournament.

With northeast Arkansas still covered in ice on Tuesday, when Greene County Tech was supposed to play Cabot, the Lady Eagles had to drop out of the event. Cabot took a bye in the first round, and Jacksonville will replace Tech in the losers’ bracket on Saturday against Watson Chapel, a first-round loser to Bryant on Thursday.