Wednesday, December 16, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Slow start doesn’t hamper Lady Rabs

Leader sportswriter

The Lonoke girls improved their 4A-2 Conference record to 3-1 Friday with a dominant 62-35 win over Stuttgart at the Gina Cox Center.

Lonoke (7-2, 3-1) didn’t have the best start to the game. The Lady Jackrabbits committed nine turnovers in the first eight minutes, but so did Stuttgart (5-4, 1-2), and Lonoke took an 11-8 lead into the second quarter.

“They’re a good basketball team,” said Lonoke coach Nathan Morris of Stuttgart. “We’re not going to just run out on top of everybody. We probably didn’t play very well early, defensively. We sure didn’t rebound very well.

“We’ve got to get better at that, but I think defensively and scoring-wise in the second quarter we hit our rhythm.”

The Lady Jackrabbits had just one turnover in the second quarter, and steadily built on their lead through the second quarter. They made seven shots in the second period. Stuttgart made five, but Lonoke finished the first half 8-9 from the free-throw line, while the Lady Ricebirds finished the half 0-3 from the stripe.

Lonoke took its first double-digit lead late in the half and maintained it at the break, leading 32-19. Lonoke closed the final 25 seconds with a pair of 2-point baskets by Jarrelyn McCall and Keiunna Walker.

McCall led the first-half scoring efforts. She scored 18 of her game-high 26 points in the first two quarters.

The Lady Rabbits more than doubled Stuttgart’s point total in the third quarter. Their lead grew to 21 near the midway point of the quarter on back-to-back threes by Kaley Woodruff and McCall. That made the score 46-25, and Lonoke led 50-25 on a Mia Brown free throw with 2:25 remaining in the third.

Lonoke closed the third quarter with four more points to lead 54-25 at the start of the fourth. The Lady Rabbits invoked the sportsmanship rule 20 seconds into the fourth quarter on a driving, contested layup by Walker, which pushed the Lonoke lead to 56-25.

The Lady Rabbits’ lead grew to as much as 60-25, but the Stuttgart reserves closed the game with a 10-2 run to set the final score.

Lonoke finished the game 23-46 from the floor for 50 percent. Stuttgart was 16-48 from the floor for 33 percent.

Lonoke was 11-16 from the free-throw line and Stuttgart was 1-5. From 3-point range, the Lady Rabbits were 5-15 and the Lady Ricebirds were 2-14.

The Lady Jackrabbits outrebounded the Lady Ricebirds 27-19, and Lonoke won the turnover battle 13-20. Lonoke had just three turnovers in the second half, and just two while the starters were on the floor.

In addition to McCall’s 26 points, Walker also scored in double figures for Lonoke, finishing with 17 points. Ashlyn Allen had eight points for Lonoke, Woodruff and Kennedy White scored four points apiece, Mickenzie Williams scored two and Brown added one.

Senior point guard Shacara Humbert led Stuttgart with 17 points. She was the only Stuttgart player to score in double figures. Junior forward Keionna Jackson added seven points for the Lady Ricebirds.