Monday, February 24, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Helena proves tough for JHS

Leader sports editor

The Jacksonville Lady Red Devils saw their hopes of a 5A-Central Conference championship likely go down the tubes in a hotly contested 61-60 loss at Helena-West Helena Central on Tuesday.

The Lady Red Devils fell behind 18-12 in the first quarter and played from behind the entire game. Fouls piled up for Jacksonville and starters had to begin taking seats on the bench in the second quarter. By the end of the third quarter, four starters had four fouls and the home team had attempted more free throws than field goals.

HWHC super freshman Kevonsheay Stackhouse shot 19 free throws by herself.
The score was tied at 60 with 10 seconds left in the game and the Lady Cougars inbounding the ball on Jacksonville’s end of the court.

Jacksonville defenders met Stackhouse at midcourt and a foul was called. Stackhouse hit 1 of 2 with two seconds remaining to give the home team the victory.

“In all honesty we could have done some things better than we did,” said Jacksonville coach William Rountree. “But I don’t think there was any way, for whatever reason, that we were going to get out of there with a win. That last play started with them stepping in before throwing the ball. Right there for everybody to see.

“We never could get into a sustained roll because every time we started to, there was a whistle.”

Markela Bryles led Jacksonville and Stackhouse led HWHC, each scoring 27 points. Tiffany Smith added 12 for the Lady Red Devils.

Jacksonville (14-8, 10-2) is now in a three-way tie for first place with Pulaski Academy and Little Rock Christian Academy. The Lady Red Devils still have a game left with PA, but even if they win that game, they need someone to upset LRCA to have a chance for a No. 1 seed in the state tournament.

The Jacksonville boys had a similar experience as the girls, according to coach Vic Joyner, but the deeper Red Devils dominated the fourth quarter to earn a 66-57 victory.

“I was able to play more kids and they got tired,” said Joyner. “That’s what it really boils down to. I had to play more kids because we were in foul trouble, but we had some depth they didn’t have.

“But my kids did a good job of keeping their cool. They made some plays down the stretch, got the lead, spread out the floor and made their free throws when they had to start fouling. They stepped up in a very tough atmosphere. They really did.”

The Red Devils never trailed by much, but played from behind for three quarters. The Cougars led 15-14 after one quarter and 32-29 at halftime. The lead was up to 48-44 by the end of three, but Jacksonville outscored its host 22-9 in the fourth quarter.

Junior forward Tedrick Wolfe led the team with 21 points.

“I’ve been trying to get Wolfe to be more assertive scoring the ball, and he’s done that the last two games,” Joyner said.

Sergio Berkley scored 17 and Devin Campbell added 15 for the Red Devils.

The Jacksonville boys are now 21-3 overall and 12-0 in the 5A Central. They currently hold a two-game lead over Pulaski Academy in the standings and they played the Bruins last night in Little Rock after Leader deadlines. Look for details of that matchup as well as from the crucial girls’ game in Wednesday’s edition of The Leader.