Friday, January 23, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Lonoke gets big sweep on road

Leader sports editor

The Lonoke Lady Jackrabbits snapped a five-game losing streak and a four-game losing streak in conference on Tuesday, getting a much-needed road win, 34-27 over Southside-Batesville. The Southerners controlled the tempo, but Lonoke handled it well. With perimeter play limited, the Lady Rabbits looked inside, where Amanda Sexton and Eboni Willis combined for half of Lonoke’s points.

“It was a good road win against a team that played us close at home,” said Lonoke coach Nathan Morris. “We got a little bit of a lead and we held. We made our free throws. We’ve had big leads at times this year and not held them. So it was good that we hung onto this one. A month ago we might not have done that.”

Lonoke led just 14-13 at halftime, and stretched that to 24-19 by the end of the third quarter.

“It was definitely more of the pace they wanted to play,” Morris said. “But we’re proud of the fact that we can go either way. Against a CAC or somebody like that, we might want to be the one to slow it down. We wanted to speed Southside up and get them uncomfortable, we just weren’t able to do that. But we were able to still be effective and beat them and their game.”

Despite a record that’s not as good as preseason expectations, Morris’ overall expectations haven’t changed for his team that returns everyone from last year’s state quarterfinal run.

“I think every coach in this league, to the man, with maybe the exception of Heber Springs, every coach thought he had a much-improved team from last year,” Morris said. “And even the Heber Springs coach felt good about the team chemistry and was optimistic coming in. Now everybody can’t see that optimism bear out, because everybody is better. Somebody has to lose. But top to bottom, these nine teams are as tough a group as anybody out there has in 4A.

“I’m not counting my girls out down this stretch. We’re going to get back at some people that maybe picked on us earlier. I’d rather play a tested schedule and have some losses on that record when I get to regional, than have a real impressive record and realize all of a sudden you hadn’t played anyone. I still think this team can make some noise in the postseason.”

Sexton led Lonoke with nine points while Willis had eight.

The Lady Jackrabbits are now 10-9 overall and 4-6 in the 4A-2 Conference.


The Lonoke boys also got a needed road win over the Southerners, 46-33. The win came despite a horrid first half for the Jackrabbit, in which they scored seven total points, including just one point in the second quarter.

The home team went into halftime with a 16-7 lead, but things changed dramatically in the second half.

Lonoke tied the game at 21 by the end of the third quarter, then dominated the fourth period for the victory.

Lonoke’s Jawaun Bryant was the only player in the game to score in double figures, finishing with 18. He scored 16 in the second half and nine in Lonoke’s 25-point fourth quarter. Nick Bates scored eight and Isaac Toney six for the Jackrabbits, who are now 7-10 overall and 4-6 in conference play.