Tuesday, March 03, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Jacksonville ladies fall in first round

Leader sports editor

PARAGOULD — Atrocious shooting and trouble rebounding, especially in the first half, led to a first-round exit for Jacksonville in the Class 5A state tournament Tuesday. Host and 5A-East champion Greene County Tech moves on to the second round with its second win of the season over Jacksonville, 55-31.

The Lady Red Devils didn’t make a shot from the floor until the three-minute mark of the second quarter. Desiree Williams’ running baseline jumper made it 15-4 at that point. It was the beginning of a brief bright spot for the Lady Devils. Williams came off the bench to score six-straight points and cut the Eagles’ margin to eight, but the Lady Eagles also got help from their bench.

Post player Kassie Tyner came off the bench to score eight points in the last two minutes of the half, leading her team into intermission with a 25-8 advantage.

Jacksonville’s poor start included a turnover on its first possession and misses on its first 16 shots. Tech (22-6) didn’t shoot well early either, but the Lady Eagles got several offensive rebounds and second-chance points in the first quarter.

“You just can’t shoot that bad and beat anybody that’s good enough to be here in the state tournament,” said Jacksonville coach William Rountree. “We came out in a junk defense and the two we were guarding went into the half with a combined two points. So I thought our defense was OK. We didn’t quit. We fought hard in the second, we just couldn’t get anything going offensively.”

Jacksonville didn’t quit in the second half, even though Tech opened the third quarter with a 6-0 run to take a 31-8 lead.

The Lady Red Devils got to within 35-20 on a Williams’ 3-pointer. After a steal by Asiah Williams, Desiree Williams hit a 3-pointer just as the officials called an offensive infraction away from the ball. It would have pulled Jacksonville to within 12 with six minutes left. Instead, Tech’s Lara White hit her own 3-pointer to make it 38-20 and end the Lady Devil threat.

Only five Lady Red Devils scored in the game, with Antrice McCoy and Desiree Williams each finishing with 11 points. Alexis James and Asiah Williams each scored four for Jacksonville.

Blair Metheny led GCT with 11 points while Tyner and Josie Fletcher scored 10 apiece for the Lady Golden Eagles.