Tuesday, December 23, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> JHS ladies beaten by Brookland

Leader sportswriter

The Jacksonville girls’ first game of the McDonald’s Red Devil Classic against Class 4A Brookland was close after two quarters of play, but the Lady Red Devils’ offense stifled in the second half, and the Lady Bearcats were able to pull away and win 66-48 Monday night at the Devils’ Den.

“They have a very good basketball team,” said Jacksonville coach William Rountree of Brookland. “I thought we competed well, like I thought we’ve done against every good team we’ve played. We’ve played a lot of good teams and have shown flashes of doing a lot of good things.

“We’ve got to be better longer. That’s the whole deal. We’re really young as far as experience. We’ve got one starter back. We’re trying to learn as we go. Again, we’re playing some really good teams, and they don’t give you the luxury of growing in those games.

“Everything we’re doing up until Jan. 6 is to get us ready for conference play.”

Brookland (9-2, 3-0), whose only losses this season were to Springdale Har-Ber and Greene County Tech, both of higher classifications, jumped out to an 11-2 lead to start the game.

Jacksonville (4-6) cut the Lady Bearcat lead to 11-8 with back-to-back 3-pointers by Alexis James and Taylor Toombs, but Brookland went into the second quarter with a 19-12 lead. That margin was set on a 3-pointer by Rachel Gramling with three seconds left in the quarter.

The Lady Devils cut Brookland’s lead down to three toward the end of the second quarter. With 1:27 left in the half, Toombs banked in her second three of the half, and that trimmed the Lady Bearcat lead to 32-29, but the visitors added another basket before halftime to make the score 34-29 at the break.

The third quarter was when Brookland began to separate itself on the scoreboard. Jacksonville made just one field goal in the third quarter, and that helped the Lady Bearcats push their lead to 17 by the end of the quarter.

Brookland scored the first 13 points of the third quarter, which gave it a comfortable 47-29 lead. Jacksonville’s first points of the half came on an Antrice McCoy three from the top of the key with 2:17 remaining in the period.

McCoy’s three made it a 47-32 ballgame, but the Lady Bearcats added another basket before the quarter came to a close to lead 49-32 at the start of the fourth.

Brookland only furthered its lead in the fourth. It gained a 20-point lead for the first time on a pair of free throws by Gramling with 1:47 left to play. That made the score 62-42, and the final margin was set on a putback by Brookland’s Taylor Reddick with 11 seconds left.

Jacksonville finished the game 16 of 42 from the floor for 38 percent. Brookland was 21 of 43 shooting for 49 percent. The Lady Devils outrebounded the Lady Bearcats 25-18, but the hosts had 24 turnovers for the game. Brookland had 10.

Gramling led all scorers with 23 points. Bailey Lovrien also scored in double figures for Brookland. She had 15 points. McCoy was the only Lady Red Devil to score in double figures. She had 22 points.

The Jacksonville girls ended the Red Devil Holiday Classic with a nonconference game against North Pulaski last night after deadlines. Look for details of that game in Saturday’s edition of The Leader.