Tuesday, February 16, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Jacksonville handles Badgers

Leader sportswriter

Jacksonville started the first and second halves hot from the perimeter in Friday night’s 5A-Central Conference game against Beebe, and the more talented Red Devils steadily pulled away from the Badgers as the game progressed, and left the Devils’ Den with a 66-46 victory.

Beebe (3-16, 1-10) led 3-2 at the start of the game, but Jacksonville (16-7, 7-4) responded with an 18-2 run, reeling off six-consecutive 3-pointers on six attempts to lead 20-5. Tyree Appleby, LaQuawn Smith and DaJuan Ridgeway each made a pair of threes during that stretch, with Appleby adding the last one that forced a Badger timeout with 3:23 left in the opening quarter.

“Some of these kids don’t have the work ethic that it takes,” said Jacksonville coach Vic Joyner of his team, “but here lately, they’ve been putting in a little bit more time on shooting and it shows, and I’ve been trying to tell them that. They’ve been shooting a lot more lately.

“We shoot in practice, but to be a shooter, you’ve got find time within your schedule to shoot, and some of them have been doing that.”

Joyner said last Tuesday’s loss at Mills, which put the Red Devils two games behind first place in the conference standings, was a wake-up call to his players that they needed to put more time into working on their game.

“After the Mills game, they realized they’re not putting enough time into their game,” Joyner said. “This team, they don’t always take stuff serious. They play hard and I love all of them, but they don’t take things serious – not the way the coaching staff wants them to.

“They’ll turn it up when they need to, but you’ve got to be turned up all the time. If you want to get to that next level, and that second season and have a chance at a state title, it has to be turned up and this team doesn’t keep it turned up all the time.”

Smith added another basket after Appleby’s second three to up the Red Devils’ lead to 22-5, but Beebe closed the first quarter with a 6-0 run to cut the Jacksonville lead to 22-11.

The Red Devils maintained their double-digit lead until Beebe’s Tyler Bradberry drained back-to-back threes, which made it 28-21 with 5:53 left until halftime. That was as close as Beebe would get to Jacksonville’s lead the remainder of the game, and by halftime, the hosts pushed their lead back to double digits, leading 35-25.

Jacksonville made its first four shots of the second half, two of which were threes, to up its lead to 45-29. The Red Devils’ first miss of the second half was a transition layup by Appleby.

The Red Devils were a perfect 3 for 3 from 3-point range in the third quarter, with Appleby putting in the last one with 1:52 left in the period. That basket made the score 53-31, and after that, JHS closed the third quarter with a 6-2 run to lead 59-33 after three.

The fourth quarter was mostly an uneventful one and both teams spent a good portion of the final eight minutes at the free-throw line. In that quarter, each team had only one basket made from the floor until late in the game, and Jacksonville’s Antoine Davis scored the final points of the night on a contested layup with 10 seconds remaining, setting the 20-point margin.

Jacksonville finished the game 22 of 39 from the floor for 56 percent. Beebe made 13 of 37 shots for 35 percent. From 3-point range, the Red Devils made 10 of 17 attempts and the Badgers made 7 of 17 for the game, but made just 1 of 7 in the second half.

From the free-throw line, JHS made 12 of 21 attempts and BHS made 13 of 22. Beebe outrebounded Jacksonville 22-17, but the Red Devils had fewer turnovers, committing 14 to Beebe’s 16.

Ridgeway led all scorers with 17 points. Three other Red Devils scored in double figures Friday. Appleby scored 14 points, Bralyn James scored 13 and Smith added 11. Bradberry was the only Badger that scored in double figures. He had 12 points.