Friday, December 09, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Technical foul call inspires the Titans

Leader sports editor

Jacksonville got its second sweep of the McClellan Crimson Lions on Tuesday in Little Rock. This time around, the win was easier for the Lady Titans while the boys’ had to battle back from a fourth-quarter deficit, instead of the 20-point win it enjoyed at home a week earlier.

The Jacksonville boys trailed by six with two minutes to go before rallying for a 67-59 victory. Assistant coach Brandon Weems took over for head coach Vic Joyner, who is out with illness. He also went most of the first half without leading scorer Tyree Appleby, who suffered a wrist injury against Vilonia.

“He was ready to go, but we wanted to try to rest him a little bit,” said Weems of Appleby. “He played the whole second half and they did a good job on him in the third quarter. We turned the pressure up in the fourth quarter and were able to get the win.”

Appleby was called for a technical foul halfway through the fourth period. After the free throws and ensuing possession, the Lions led 55-49. Jacksonville then closed the game with an 18-4 run.

“We didn’t want to pressure McClellan early because they want a rat race,” Weems said. “Then in the fourth quarter we got that technical, and I didn’t think he did anything to warrant a technical. But that got the crowd into it and they were coming down on us. We had our backs to the wall and applied the pressure. We got in the passing lanes and got some transition baskets. They just refused to lose.”

Appleby scored 15 points in the fourth quarter and finished with a game-high 23. DaJuan Ridgeway scored 12 of his 21 total points in the fourth period as well. Senior post Chris Williams added 11 for the Titans, who are now 4-2 overall.

The Jacksonville boys finish play in the Bulldog Invitational at Fayetteville today, and will also play at Cabot next Friday.

In the girls’ game, the Lady Titans, which won 52-29 at home against McClellan on Nov. 29, held the Lady Lions to less than half that total in a 55-11 victory.

The lead was 22-5 at halftime, but Jacksonville exploded for 25 points in the third quarter to put the game away. The Lady Titan defense held McClellan to just 19 total shot attempts, while forcing 39 turnovers. Jacksonville (6-5) scored 40 points off those turnovers.

Freshman Shy Christ-opher led all scorers with 15 points. She also had eight rebounds, three assists and two steals. Seniors Dayzya Jordan and Taylor Toombs scored 10 points each. Martina Knight and Alexis James each had seven, and Shatorria Briggs had six points and five steals.

The Lady Titans play in the Dandra Thomas Invitational today at Conway High School, and will travel to Cabot on Friday.

The Jacksonville boys and girls each lost their respective tournament games on Thursday.

The Lady Titans fell to tournament host Conway 68-37 while the boys lost 72-64 to Harrison in the first round of the Bulldog Invitational.

Appleby suffered a severe ankle sprain in the third quarter of the game. Harrison led 39-31 at halftime before Jacksonville rallied to within 48-46 by the start of the fourth quarter.

Look for information on the boys’ and girls’ weekend tournament games in Saturday’s edition of The Leader.