Saturday, November 21, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Lonoke ladies escape from Carlisle

Leader sportswriter

Tuesday night’s Lonoke County matchup between Lonoke and Carlisle was a battle from start to finish and a game of runs, but Lonoke had the final run of the night, and as a result, the Lady Jackrabbits beat Carlisle 65-55 at Bison Arena.

Carlisle (0-1) led 41-37 at the start of the fourth quarter, and later pushed its lead to 50-43. That was when Lonoke (2-0) made its comeback. The Lady Jackrabbits scored the next eight points to take a 51-50 lead with 2:20 to play.

The go-ahead bucket came on a Mickenzie Williams steal and dish up court to leading scorer Keiunna Walker, who sank a short baseline jumper to give Lonoke the one-point lead.

Lonoke’s lead grew to 58-53 on a Walker free throw with 48.4 seconds remaining. She made the first of a two-shot foul. Carlisle leading scorer Kylie Warren cut the Lonoke lead to three on the next possession after she drained a pair of free throws with 39.9 seconds left.

Warren’s free throws made it 58-55 Lonoke. The Lady Bison were forced to foul the rest of the way, and Lonoke, who struggled from the free-throw line for most of the second half, made 5 of 6 free throws in the final minute of play and Walker added the final basket of the game in the waning seconds to give the Lady Rabbits the 10-point win.

“At the end of the game we started getting a little wild with the basketball,” said Carlisle coach Jonathan Buffalo. “I think the pressure got to us and we started making some poor decisions with the ball. I can’t fault their effort, though.

“We competed this time last year and they (Lonoke) ran the clock on us. So, it doesn’t take away from what our goals are. It was a good first test – a real test in a real game. It was a game of runs. It was kind of going to be who would make the last one, and they made the last one.

“Maybe our youth showed just a little bit. We only have one senior on the team, but I’m real proud of their effort.”

Lonoke scored the first six points of the game, but Carlisle settled down and came storming back to take an 18-8 lead. Lonoke added the final four points of the opening quarter, though, to cut Carlisle’s lead down to 18-12 at the end of one.

The Lady Jackrabbits came back in the second quarter and outscored the Lady Bison 17-10 to take a one-point lead into halftime, leading 29-28. Carlisle responded after the break and outscored Lonoke 13-8 in the third quarter to lead 41-37 at the start of the fourth.

“Our press really started bothering them late,” said Lonoke coach Nathan Morris. “I wish we would’ve gotten a few more stops here and there. I’m not real happy with our defense in the half court, but we really forced them into some stuff in the fourth quarter and made the layups when it counted.”

Lonoke didn’t have its best game from the free-throw line. The Lady Rabbits made 3 of 7 shots from the stripe in the first half, and went 1 for 7 from the line in the third quarter and finished the second half 11 for 28 from the line.

“We make shots from the free-throw line and we distance that lead even more,” Morris said. “I give them (Carlisle) credit in the first half for doing what they did, but our kids showed a lot of fight to stay in that game.

“They’re exactly what I’ve told people I think they can be – just some scrappy, fighting, clawing, get after you kids that are going to be fun to watch.”

Lonoke finished the game 25 for 62 from the floor for 40 percent. Carlisle was also 40 percent from the floor on 19 of 47 shooting. Carlisle made 2 of 10 3-point attempts, while Lonoke made 1 of 13 shots from beyond the arc.

From the free-throw line, the Lady Rabbits made 14 of 35 attempts for 40 percent. The Lady Bison made 15 of 27 free throws for 56 percent. Both teams had 31 rebounds, but Lonoke won the turnover battle, 22-30.

Walker led all scorers with 35 points. She also had five rebounds and five steals. Jarrelyn McCall was the only other Lady Rabbit to score in double figures. She had 14 points and added three rebounds and three steals.

Warren led Carlisle with 29 points and 11 rebounds. She also had five assists, four steals and three blocks. Nikita Harper added eight points for the Lady Bison.