Friday, February 12, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Comets get season split, Lady Devils sweep Mills

Leader sports editor

The Jacksonville Red Devils fell two games behind first place Tuesday with a 70-59 loss at Mills University Studies in Little Rock.

Jacksonville (14-8, 6-4) beat Mills 54-53 last month at JHS, but struggled with matchup disadvantages in the second half on Tuesday.

The Red Devils led 33-31 at halftime, but the Comets came out of the locker room hot from outside in the third quarter. They also switched defenses and the Red Devils had trouble adjusting.

“First of all, their bigs are a problem for us because our bigs aren’t that big,” said Jacksonville coach Vic Joyner. “We have a little size, but no experience. So you try to go with the guys who have played, but they’re undersized. Then you try to go with your big men, but their big men can come out onto the floor. When you go big, they come out and drive around us. They just have more pieces to the puzzle than we do.”

In the first meeting between the two teams, Mills coach Raymond Cooper complained that his team abandoned the game plan. Joyner said the same thing about his squad on Tuesday.

“We had some kids that got caught up in the hype,” Joyner said. “Started trying to make it a one-on-one game instead of doing what we do. They went to that little 1-3-1 zone, and a 3-2, and it took us a while to adjust to it. We just kept trying to drive and force crap. Four times in a row we did that and just lost the ball – didn’t even get a shot. That’s why I sat them all down. They were killing us, but I don’t know if a starter scored a point in the third quarter, because they were all over there sitting by me.”

Senior post player Chris Williams did make one basket in the third and LaQuawn Smith added a free throw. The only other basket was by freshman Joe Phillips, as the Comets outscored Jacksonville 18-5 to take a 49-38 lead into the fourth period.

Jacksonville was never able to make a serious threat in the fourth quarter, though guard Kavion Waller came off the bench to score 11 points in the final frame and keep the Red Devils close.

Mills (19-6, 8-2) made 7 of 8 free throws down the stretch to maintain its advantage.

Tyree Appleby led Jacksonville with 20 points, but only scored four in the second half. Likewise, Smith scored 16 of his 16 in the first half for Jacksonville. Waller was the only other JHS player in double figures.

Four Comets were in double figures, led by junior post Darious Hall’s 18 points. Guard Grehlon Easter scored 16 and guard Quawn Marshall 13. Sophomore post Jeremiah Toney added 11 for Mills, all in the first half.


The Lady Red Devils (12-12, 6-4) cruised to an easy 69-27 victory in their game at Mills. Jacksonville coach Crystal Scott moved up four ninth graders to help fill a depleted roster, and two of them got on the board in the first quarter. Kayla Floyd scored four points and Deshundria Shockley added a bucket as Jacksonville built a 23-5 first-quarter lead.

Senior Asiah Williams scored eight in the first, including a pair of 3-pointers. The Lady Red Devils extended their lead to 42-16 by halftime. They led by as much as 39 in the third quarter before settling for a mercy-rule-invoking 59-25 lead going into the fourth period.

Senior post Tatianna Lacy led Jacksonville with 13 points while Williams finished with 10. Jasmine Ellison led Mills (2-13, 1-9) with nine points.