Tuesday, February 09, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Second quarter run gives Jacksonville win

By RAY BENTON Leader sports editor

The last-ever meeting between Jacksonville and North Pulaski was close for a quarter despite a huge foul and free-throw discrepancy, but second-quarter turnovers was the demise of the Falcons as Jacksonville went on to a 63-32 victory Friday day at JHS.

After the game, though, the rivalry was symbolically put to rest as players and coaches prayed together and called it up together at midcourt in a show of solidarity as the two schools prepare to become one next school year.

“We wanted to show that the rivalry is over and we’re all one,” said Jacksonville coach Vic Joyner. “We’re all Jacksonville. We all live here, and work here and go to school here. We wanted to show that unity of us all being from the same hometown and now we finally have our own hometown school. That’s what that was all about.”

North Pulaski coach Roy Jackson felt the same way about the post-game show of unity.

“We’re all Jacksonville people and we’re about to join together,” said Jackson. “We wanted to go ahead and get that process started. So I think that’s a good thing.”

Jackson wasn’t as happy early in the game. Halfway through the second quarter, the foul difference was 9-2, and by halftime, Jacksonville had shot 14 free throws to zero for North Pulaski. But the head Falcon didn’t blame officiating after the game.

“We just always seem to have one bad quarter where we can’t make a basket and we commit a bunch of turnovers,” Jackson said. “We just struggled to score the basketball and they had a big run in the second quarter.”

Jacksonville led 15-10 at the end of the first period, but outscored the Falcons 20-2 in the second quarter. The whole second half was played fairly evenly.

Jacksonville put together another small run late in the fourth quarter to invoke the mercy rule with the last basket of the game. Caleb Kendrick scored with 1:07 remaining to put the Red Devils up by 30. His free throw set the final margin.

The decisive second quarter saw the Falcons commit 11 of their 27 turnovers in the game.

Senior guard LaQuawn Smith led Jacksonville with 12 points while senior post Chris Williams added 10 points and seven rebounds. Senior guard Jermaine Lopez led the Falcons with 12 points while sophomore post Christian White had six points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

Jacksonville (14-7, 6-3) made 21 of 60 shot attempts including 4 of 16 from 3-point range. The Red Devils made 20 of 31 from the free-throw line.

North Pulaski (3-15, 0-9) went 12 of 33 from the floor, 2 for 5 from outside and 6 of 10 at the foul line.