Tuesday, June 10, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Devils strong at MSM

Leader sports editor

The Lady Red Devils dominated at the Mount St. Mary basketball team camp Monday. Jacksonville’s pressure forced 52 total turnovers in two, 40-minute games played with a continuous clock. The Lady Devils forced 20 turnovers and beat Mount St. Mary 37-25, then handled Lonoke 46-23 after forcing 32 turnovers.

Of the 32 turnovers forced against the Lady Jackrabbits, 24 of them were steals, of which senior point guard Antrice McCoy had half.

“She’s one of only two seniors on this team,” said Jacksonville coach William Rountree. “And I don’t think there is anybody that we’re going to play, that I would look over at that other one and say I’d rather have her than Antrice. She is exceedingly quick. She’s a hard worker and she is very coachable. And she had a really good night.”

The camp host scored first just 10 seconds into the game, but Jacksonville responded with a putback by Jerrica Holloway. McCoy then got her first steal and made a transition layup to put Jacksonville ahead for good just 40 seconds into the contest.

Jacksonville got two more quick steals, but failed to convert them into points. Holloway then got a steal and made a layup for a 6-2 lead. After a missed shot, Jacksonville got the rebound and threw an outlet pass to Desiree Williams, who pulled up and hit a 3-pointer to make it 9-2 and force a MSM timeout.

The Belles answered with four-straight points and forced a Jacksonville timeout with 13:55 left in the first half.

The pace slowed for a while. Jacksonville continued to force turnovers, but had trouble converting on the offensive end, and missed several free throws, which were worth two points each in the camp. All trips to the line were one-shot trips worth two points. Since the clock only stopped in the final two minutes of each half, time at the foul line was limited to keep the game moving.

The two teams played evenly with little scoring taking place for most of the rest of the half. Jacksonville closed with the final four points, both off steals by McCoy. She scored after one and dished to Tatiana Lacy after another.

The Lady Red Devils went into halftime leading 19-12, but had a bit more trouble forcing the pace early in the second.

Still, Jacksonville’s defense made it difficult for the Belles to score, too. Halfway through the second half, Jacksonville had only outscored MSM 4-2, and led 23-14. They took the nine-point lead on a shot by Alexis James with 9:56 remaining. James later added a bucket after a Holloway steal. She then got her own steal underneath the MSM goal, went the distance of the court and hit a driving layup to make it 27-16 with 7:34 left.

“Alexis is just a sophomore,” Rountree said. “She still needs to get a little tougher mentally and she has to improve on defense, but right now she’s already the kind of player on offense that can get into a rhythm and get a lot of points for you in a hurry.”

Two more buckets made it 31-16 with 5:51 left and put the Lady Devils in control the rest of the way.

McCoy, Holloway and James each finished with 10 points to lead Jacksonville.

Lonoke took the floor with Jacksonville immediately afterwards and that turned into a runaway quickly. McCoy got her first two steals in the first 20 seconds and converted both into easy layups. Jacksonville forced two more turnovers before Lonoke could get a shot off, but couldn’t convert them into points.

Lonoke coach Nathan Morris called timeout after his team committed four turnovers, all steals, in the first 90 seconds. It briefly stemmed the tide of turnovers, but Lonoke still had trouble scoring. Jacksonville broke the drought when James hit a free throw with 15:48 left to make it 6-0, and another scoring drought ensued for both teams. Lonoke finally broke that one when Amanda Sexton scored with 11:55 remaining to make it 6-2 and the two teams traded buckets for the next five minutes.

Jarrelyn McCall scored with 7:17 left to pull Lonoke to within 11-6, but Jacksonville answered with a 7-0 run that started with a Williams free throw. McCoy got a layup plus one to make it 16-6 and followed that with a transition bucket to put Jacksonville up by 12 with 1:15 left. McCall scored with 10 seconds on the clock to make it 18-8 at halftime.

Jacksonville opened the second half with a 9-0 run in just two minutes to take command of the game.

Eboni Willis scored for Lonoke, but James answered with a 3-pointer that made it a 20-point margin.

Lonoke scored on its next two possessions, but both were answered by Jacksonville 3-pointers. McCoy hit another and Holloway drained one to make it 36-14 with 11:32 remaining.

After another McCoy steal, Dasiah Woods drained a fourth-straight three for Jacksonville. McCoy then got her 11th steal and followed that with a traditional 3-point play for a 42-14 lead with 10:17 remaining.

Jacksonville didn’t score again for nearly 10 minutes while Lonoke went on a 9-0 run against Jacksonville substitute players.

Rountree reinserted his starters for the final two minutes. Holloway scored with 58 seconds left and McCoy got her final steal and layup at the buzzer.

McCoy scored 15 points to go with her 12 steals to lead all players in both categories. Williams added 10 points for Jacksonville. Holloway had nine points and eight steals and James added eight points and four steals.

“These summer camps are just a way for coaches to evaluate and for players to get some game-type experience in a little bit less intense environment than in the season,” Rountree said. “But still, I think anybody watching that had to be pleased with what they showed tonight. We could come back out here and lose two and look terrible, but that’s what these camps are about.”