Tuesday, December 22, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Wolves upset Cyclones

Leader sports editor

A dramatic win over Class 6A Russellville highlighted a very busy few days of basketball for the Jacksonville Lighthouse Charter School’s boys’ team from Dec. 11-19. The Wolves went 3-2 including games in two different tournaments and one regularly scheduled game, all on the road.

On Dec. 11, the Wolves went to Haskell and dominated Harmony Grove 65-46, then finished the Conway Christian tournament on Saturday with a 77-60 win over Glen Rose.

On Thursday of last week, the Wolves (7-7) played the first of three games in the Greenbrier tournament against Vilonia and lost 70-60. JLCS coach Kelvin Parker said his small 2A team had no answer for Vilonia big man Charles Thomas.

“We started out in a zone and got behind because they were hitting so well from outside,” said Parker. “We switched to man and stopped the guard play, but we couldn’t do anything with their bigs. And we really couldn’t go back to the zone because we were behind. Poor Courtney (Jefferson), he worked hard but he fouled out both of those first two games (at Greenbrier) trying to play with those big boys.”

Chris Mims had a big game against Vilonia, scoring 26 points, but no one else had more than eight for JLCS.

Things changed the next day against Russellville. Mims again led the team with 28 points, but senior point guard Jordan McNair added 20, including the last two in overtime of the 72-71 victory.

Russellville tied the game at the end of regulation after the Wolves led the entire way. The Cyclones then hit a shot with 15 seconds left to take a 71-70 lead.

Russellville went to a man-to-man defense after the shot and Parker called “flat”, which isolated McNair against his man. The 5-foot-7 speedster got past the defender, pulled up at the elbow and nailed the game winner just before the buzzer.

“They played zone against us almost the whole game and we were hitting shots,” Parker said. “When they went man, I just wanted Jordan to dribble drive. He’d beaten his man all day and I figured he could do it again.”

The strong shooting of the first two games disappeared in a 48-40 loss to Greenbrier on Saturday. The pace of the game stayed where Parker likes it, but the shots weren’t falling.

“We played great defense and we were able to force the tempo, we just couldn’t throw it in the ocean,” Parker said. “We work a lot on shooting because we’re so small we have to be able to hit from outside. But we’re not consistent. When the shots aren’t falling, we’re going to struggle. We’re one big man away.”

Mims again led the team with 14 points against Greenbrier.