Wednesday, January 15, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Red Devils pour it on late in win

Leader sports editor

Little Rock Christian Academy battled evenly with the Jacksonville Red Devils in the first and third quarters on Friday. It was the way Jacksonville dominated the second and fourth quarters that told the story of the Red Devils’ 63-30 win at the Devil’s Den.

Jacksonville (12-3, 2-0) held the Warriors to just two points in the second quarter in turning a 14-8 lead into a 26-10 advantage at halftime.

After a 15-15 third quarter, Jacksonville held LRCA scoreless for seven minutes in the fourth as it invoked the sportsmanship rule on what had been a competitive game.

“Their point guard had been killing people in that offense and finding open men under the basket,” said Jacksonville coach Vic Joyner. “We were just going to try to dog him like crazy and he got frustrated.”

Besides heavy pressure on the Warrior guards, Jacksonville also focused heavily on rebounding since its narrow win over Mills in the conference opener. The Comets beat the Red Devils on the boards, and Joyner was determined for his team to take notice.

“Sometimes you can’t just tell kids something, you have to show them,” Joyner said. “We broke that film down, and showed them where a shot would go up, and we’d have one guy rebounding and four standing around outside. And Mills had four or five guys in there going after it. We focused so much on that this week that there wasn’t any way we were going to let that happen again.”

It didn’t. The Red Devils dominated on the boards, outrebounding the Warriors 35-11.

It was also a loosely called game, a welcome change to the 30- and 40-foul games Jacksonville has been involved in this season. Joyner did take issue with one call late in the third quarter.

The call caused a long delay as Joyner protested a counted basket for the Warriors (5-5, 0-2) on a point-blank shot that clanked off the bottom of the rim.

The official called a foul and signaled to count the basket. After he was informed that the ball didn’t go in, he called goal tending on Jacksonville, and still counted the basket.

Joyner argued that there can’t be goal tending on a shot that didn’t rise above the rim. After the officials’ crew chief spoke at length with Joyner, he spoke at greater length with the rest of the crew before signaling that the basket counted.

But Jacksonville’s lead was still 17 even after the ruling, and the Warriors never threatened afterwards.

Despite the game enjoying good flow with few fouls, two Red Devil starters sat most of the game with foul trouble, but both came up big in the fourth quarter.

LaQuawn Smith, who was responsible early for hounding Warrior point guard Cole Henderson, and leading average scorer Devin Campbell both picked up three fouls in the first half and sat the entire third quarter.

Smith got four steals in the first quarter before sitting, and got his fifth shortly after re-entering the game midway through the fourth. It led to an assist to Lakalon Huskey, whose layup made it 55-25 and invoked the mercy rule with 2:10 remaining in the game.

Jacksonville finished the game with 11 players on the scoresheet. Campbell led the way with 11 while post player Kanaan Jackson finished with nine points and 14 rebounds.

LRCA’s Alex Caroom led all scorers with 17 points.