Tuesday, February 02, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Falcons win, boys fall by one point

Leader sports editor

North Pulaski and McClellan played a pair of one-point thrillers Friday night at NPHS. The Lady Falcons were on the right side of their 35-34 final, reversing a 43-42 loss at McClellan earlier this season.

The North Pulaski boys played their best conference game of the season so far, but came up short in a 54-53 loss.

The Falcons (3-15, 0-7) were able to take some pride in their effort.

“It was a little bit of a moral victory, I’m not going to lie about that,” said North Pulaski boys coach Roy Jackson. “But it was still heartbreaking because we played so hard to climb back after being down, and had a chance to win it. We ended up fouling a guy about 70 feet from the basket. It was a foul, but I’m not sure it was one of those fouls you have to call in that situation. It was just a tough way to lose after playing so hard.”

North Pulaski never led, and trailed by double digits early in the third quarter before making a furious comeback attempt. The Falcons finally tied the game with less than a minute remaining, but committed the decisive foul with 1.4 seconds left.

McClellan’s Tre Harris hit the first of two free throws, then missed the second intentionally to keep the Falcons from being able to run any sort of set play for a potential game winner.

“We just had to stand there and watch him make a free throw instead of going into overtime,” Jackson said. “I really think we would’ve had a good chance to win if we could’ve gotten to overtime. We made it all the way back and tied it late, so we had the momentum and energy on our side. They shot way more free throws than we did, too. But we missed some crucial ones in the fourth quarter that would’ve probably won it for us if we make them.”

McClellan went 20 for 30 from the foul line while North Pulaski made just 4 of 11 attempts.

Sean Moragne led North Pulaski with 14 points while Braxton McKinney added 12 and Jermaine Lopez 10 for the Falcons. Harris scored 19 to lead McClellan while Mahki Goodwin (Archie Goodwin’s younger brother who moved to Little Rock this year from Jacksonville, Ga.) scored 15 and had 10 rebounds.

The Lady Falcons only won one quarter on the scoreboard, outscoring McClellan 9-4 in the second. It was enough for a three-point halftime lead at 15-12. After a 12-12 third, McClellan won the fourth 10-8.

The Lady Falcons led by four with 12 seconds left when Elisha Smith committed a foul that kept McClellan’s hopes alive. McClellan then fouled Kiarra Evans, who made both free throws to seal the win.

Smith’s blunder at the end didn’t hurt as much as her game-high 15 points helped. Evans finished with 14 for NP while McClellan held NP’s guards to just four combined points.

“We finished really well on the post,” NP girls; coach Stacy Dalmut said. “Our guards did not shoot well at all, and didn’t attack the zone like they should. But when they did it created openings for Elisha and Kiarra, and they did a good job on those opportunities. Kiarra hit some big free throws down the stretch, and she’s been struggling pretty bad there lately. So that was big.”