Friday, December 04, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> LHS girls breeze to finals at CSJHS

Leader sportswriter

CONWAY – The Lonoke Lady Jackrabbits picked up their third win of the week Thursday night in the semifinals of the annual St. Joseph Classic, as they made easy work of Perryville, beating the Lady Mustangs 51-24 to advance to today’s championship game against England.

The Lonoke girls also got an easy win over Shirley in the first round of the tournament on Monday. They then traveled to Southside Batesville for a 4A-2 Conference game on Tuesday, where the Lady Rabbits escaped Independence County with a 55-52 overtime win over the Lady Southerners.

Thursday night’s tournament semifinal win over Perryville was a good one, but the conference win against Southside was the one that matters. That doesn’t mean the Lonoke girls are giving any less effort in the St. Joseph Classic.

“The most important win of the week was the overtime one at Southside,” said Lonoke coach Nathan Morris. “The other two were going to be practice, but now that we’re in the finals we want to win it.

“This week we’re getting four games in six days and we want to make the most of it.”

The overtime win Tuesday night was a thriller, but Thursday’s game wasn’t even close.

Lonoke (5-1, 1-1) scored the first five points of the game and led 12-4 before Perryville (2-3) ended the opening quarter by scoring four of the last six points, which cut Lonoke’s lead to 14-8 after one.

Lonoke scored the same number of points in the second quarter while holding the Lady Mustangs to six, which doubled Perryville’s point total by halftime, as Lonoke took a comfortable 28-14 lead into the break.

The third quarter was more balanced as far as scoring, but Lonoke edged Perryville 9-7 to take a 37-21 lead at the start of the fourth. The Lady Rabbits made just one field goal in the third quarter, but made seven free throws and forced turnovers and stops on defense.

Lonoke found its scoring groove again the fourth, making six field goals, and the Lady Rabbits quickly pushed their lead to 20-plus.

The Lady Rabbits first pushed their lead to 20-plus on a short baseline jumper by Keiunna Walker with 5:47 to play. That made the score 43-22. The lead grew to 47-22 on a Kennedy White putback after a missed three by Jarrelyn McCall just outside the three-minute mark.

Both teams pulled their starters shortly after, but Lonoke’s lead grew to 27 by game’s end, with Lonoke’s Tashalla Gomillion draining 3-pointer that hit nothing but the bottom of the net just before the buzzer sounded. It was set up by a Kaley Woodruff lane-penetrating dish to the perimeter.

Lonoke made 18 of 42 shot attempts Thursday for 43 percent. Perryville made 9 of 27 shots from the floor for 33 percent. Lonoke was 5 for 12 on 3-point attempts, while the Lady Mustangs made zero threes on three attempts. From the free-throw line, Lonoke made 10 of 17 attempts and Perryville went 6 for 13 from the stripe.

Lonoke committed 10 turnovers in Thursday’s game, but had zero in the fourth quarter when the starters were on the floor. Perryville committed 22 turnovers.

Walker led all scorers Thursday with 24 points. McCall added 13 points, Ashlyn Allen and Mickenzie Williams scored four each, Gomillion had three, White had two and Woodruff added one point.

Brooklyn Fuller led Perryville with eight points.

Walker again led the scoring Tuesday at Southside with 22 points. McCall had 13 and Williams scored 10.

Today’s championship game of the St. Joseph Classic between Lonoke and England will tip off at 5:20 p.m.