Wednesday, January 20, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Red Devils earn easy road win over BHS

Leader sportswriter

Friday’s 5A-Central Conference matchup between Jacksonville and Beebe was close after a quarter of play, but the more talented Red Devils separated themselves on the scoreboard in the second quarter and built on their lead from there, beating the Badgers 75-45 at Beebe.

Jacksonville (11-5, 3-1) scored the first five points of the conference game on a basket by Marice Lambert and three by DaJuan Ridgeway. Beebe (2-10, 0-4), though, closed to within 13-12 of Jacksonville’s lead, scoring the last two points on a pair of free throws by Tyler Bradberry with 2:05 left in the first quarter.

Jacksonville’s LaQuawn Smith and Chris Williams added the last two baskets of the quarter to make the score 17-12. The second quarter was a different story, as the Red Devils outscored the host Badgers 24-11 in that eight-minute span to lead 41-23 at halftime.

“We had a lot of defensive breakdowns,” said Jacksonville coach Victor Joyner. “We’ve got a lot of stuff to work on. We’ve got to be better, communication-wise, defensively. Offensively, early on we were impatient.”

Jacksonville opened the second half with an 8-0 run to further its lead to 49-23. Beebe answered with a 7-3 run, but the lead went back to 26 on a spectacular and-1 by Smith with 1:02 left in the third quarter.

Smith drove down the middle of the lane, went up for a right-handed contested layup, first aiming for the right side of the glass, then in midflight while facing the front of the goal and Beebe defenders, switched directions and laid it in off the left side of the glass, while still using his right hand. 

That made the score 64-38. Smith then added the final bucket of the quarter on a buzzer-beating alley-oop lay-in, receiving the pass from Tyree Appleby. That made the score 66-38 at the start of the fourth.

The Red Devils invoked the sportsmanship rule with 6:21 left to play on a free throw by Antoine Davis, which made the score 72-42. With the clock running continuously, the two teams added three points apiece to their sides of the board, setting the final score.

“I thought they settled down and worked the ball a little better in the second half,” Joyner said. “We moved the ball around and we made their defense shift. When you can get the defense shifting then you can get open glides and open shots. We did a better job in the second half of moving the ball.”

Jacksonville finished the game 26 for 46 from the floor for 57 percent. Beebe was 14 for 36 from the floor for 39 percent. From the free-throw line, the Red Devils made 19 of 30 attempts and the Badgers made 14 of 20. From 3-point range, JHS made 3 of 11 attempts and the hosts made 3 of 13.

Beebe outrebounded Jacksonville 25-16, but the Red Devils won the turnover category 7-20.

The win keeps the Red Devils on pace with three other 5A-Central teams that share the league lead. Pulaski Academy, J.A. Fair and Mills are also 3-1. McClellan and Sylvan Hills are just a game behind at 2-2 while Beebe and North Pulaski are winless in league play.

Smith led all scorers with 17 points. Appleby and Bralyn James added 11 points each and Ridgeway and Harderrious Martin scored eight points apiece.

Brad Worthington led Beebe with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Austin Moore scored nine points, all of which came in the second half.