Tuesday, January 27, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Jacksonville falls at Mills, in standings

Special to The Leader

The Jacksonville Red Devils led by two at the end of three quarters Friday night when they visited the Mills Comets, but could not hold on for the win, as the Comets scored 18 points to Jacksonville’s nine in the final quarter to secure the 59-52 victory. The two teams ended the night tied with a 5-1 record in the 5A-Central Conference. The Red Devils’ overall record is still an impressive 16-3, and the Comets’ overall record improved to 12-4.

“We’ve been patient all year in running our offense,” said Jacksonville coach Victor Joyner. “We didn’t do that tonight. That’s why we got this loss. I think they got a little too hyped up. They wouldn’t slow down and execute. They stayed in a rut the whole game. I just couldn’t get them to slow down. There were too many forces of the ball.

“Every game in this conference is huge. It’s a tough conference. That was a big win for Mills. That’s what makes this conference tough. Every night you’ve got to come out and battle.”

Mills got on the scoreboard first with five quick points, a 3-pointer from the wing by Grehlon Easter and a steal and layup by Cameron Ricks. The Red Devils came storming back with 13 unanswered points of their own.

Tyree Appleby sank a pair of free throws and Devin Campbell two driving layups, a free throw and two 3-point baskets to give Jacksonville the 13-5 advantage. The Comets answered with seven straight, including a traditional 3-point play by Jereme Allen to cut the lead to 13-12.

Jacksonville responded with six points before Easter hit a layup for the home team just before the buzzer to end the first quarter with the Red Devils holding a 19-14 lead.

Kaevon Jones started the second quarter scoring for Mills with an old fashioned 3-point play, followed by an offensive tip-in by Ricks to knot the score at 19. After the Comets gained a 21-20 lead, a dunk by Campbell gave the lead back to Jacksonville.

The lead changed hands twice before being tied again at 27-27. Ricks sank a three to give Mills a 30-27 halftime advantage.

The Comets took a 37-32 lead in the third quarter before Appleby connected on a 3-pointer, then a steal and layup to again tie the game. Appleby struck again on a scoop and score layup, and Marice Young hit a 3-point basket from the corner to give the lead back to Jacksonville at 42-37. Mills answered with a steal and dunk by Darius Hall and layup by Ricks. Campbell was fouled on a putback at the buzzer and sank 1 of 2 free throws to give the Red Devils the 43-41 lead at the end of three quarters of play.

The Comets went ahead 47-43 on a three by Easter and a 3-point play by Hall to start the final quarter. Jacksonville went on a seven-point run with a 3-pointer by Appleby, an offensive rebound and putback by Campbell, and a driving layup by LaQuawn Smith.

Easter knotted the score again at 50-50 with a three. Mills regained a 55-52 advantage, and Campbell attempted to tie the game with a 3-pointer. Missing, he got his own long rebound, but then committed an offensive foul.

The Comets turned the ball over on a five-second count inbounding the ball following a timeout, but the Red Devils could not score on the possession, and Campbell fouled out on the play. Ricks made 1 of 2 of the ensuing free throws, and the lead was 56-52 with 28.9 seconds remaining.

Appleby tried a three to no avail, and the rebound went to Mills. Jacksonville fouled with 13.7 seconds on the clock, and Jeremiah Toney sank both free throws of the double bonus to up the lead to 58-52. The Red Devils had one more shot but missed, Ricks rebounded, was fouled, and connected on 1 of 2 free throws with 6.6 seconds remaining to set the final margin at 59-52.

Turnovers were even for the teams with 12 each. Jacksonville outrebounded the Comets 33-26. Mills sank 15 of 21 from the free-throw line, while the Red Devils hit only 11 of 24 from the stripe.

Campbell led Jacksonville in scoring with 19 points. Appleby had 14, and Smith added 13 points. Ricks had 18 points to lead Mills, and Easter was next with 13 points.