Tuesday, March 01, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Hornets sting JHS at state

Leader sports editor

HOT SPRINGS – In a fast-paced game that came down to making shots, be they from inside, outside or from the free throw line, Maumelle made the crucial ones and Jacksonville didn’t. The result was an 81-73 victory for the Hornets in the first round of the Class 5A state tournament Tuesday.

Jacksonville dominated rebounds and took 15 more shots than Maumelle, but couldn’t make them at critical points. The most telling statistic of the game was free-throw shooting. Jacksonville went 15 for 33, including 9 of 23 in the second half, while Maumelle hit 15 of 24, but made 12 of 14 in the second half.

Jacksonville jumped out to a 12-6 lead, but Maumelle (25-3) caught fire at that point and could hardly miss from anywhere. The Hornets hit 7 of 8 3-pointers from midway in the first quarter to midway in the second. They had 39 points and led by 16 just three minutes into the second quarter when Jacksonville began to climb back into the game.

The Red Devils (17-9) cut the margin to as little as two points three times in the second half, and had several possessions to tie or take the lead, but went 0 for 7 from the floor and 0-4 at the line when trailing by a single possession.

Jacksonville coach Vic Joyner had nothing but praise for his team after the game.

“They left everything they had on the floor,” said Joyner. “(Tyree) Appleby played sick. They were down the whole game and kept fighting. We weren’t supposed to win. It was a four seed against a one seed and they took the line and had a shot.

“I have no malice. I’m not hurting. I don’t have that numb feeling I usually have when we lose tournament games. I’m just proud of them for how hard they played. They made the city of Jacksonville proud today with their effort. We just didn’t make shots and they made them. That’s it,” Joyner said.

The Red Devils quickly erased a 47-36 halftime deficit and cut the margin to 50-48 early in the third. Maumelle answered with a 10-4 run to go back up 60-52.

Jacksonville’s last run came midway in the fourth quarter when a 3-point play by Dajuan Ridgeway pulled the Red Devils to within 63-61 with five minutes left. Jacksonville had two possessions to tie or take the lead, but missed a pair of free throws and four shots from the floor.

Maumelle’s Division I signee Shawn Williams hit all five of his 3-pointers in the first half, and the Hornets hit 10 of 23 from outside in the game. Williams finished with a game-high 31 points while Tremont Robinson added 25 for the Hornets, who were 28 of 56 from the floor.

Jacksonville outrebounded Maumelle 41-23 and forced 11 second-half turnovers, but could only make 27 of 71 shot attempts, and just 4 of 19 from 3-point range.

Appleby, a junior, led Jacksonville in scoring with 25 points, and added five steals, four assists and four rebounds.

Senior LaQuawn Smith scored 24 and pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds. Junior Ridgeway added 15 for Jacksonville.