Tuesday, December 13, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Lighthouse lighting up scoreboard

Leader sports editor

HAZEN – The Jacksonville Lighthouse Charter boys made it 10 wins in a row on Monday with a 96-41 destruction of the Hazen Hornets at Hazen. That win followed a busy week of six wins in eight days, including the championship game of the Conway Regional Tournament at Conway Christian Academy.

On the opening day of the tournament, which was Dec. 3, the Wolves followed a win in the Battle of the Border at Hall High School with a first-round tournament winat Conway over Glen Rose.

On Tuesday at home in a conference game, they beat Marvell 82-75. Back to tournament play in Conway on Thursday, Lighthouse escaped with a 57-56 win over defending Class 3A state champion Harding Academy. In another home conference game on Friday, the Wolves demolished Carlisle 91-41.

In the championship game of the Conway Regional Tournament this past Saturday, they ran away from Guy-Perkins in the second half for a 100-69 victory, before finally hammering Hazen in the first league road game on Monday.

In Thursday’s win over Harding Academy, the Wildcats controlled the pace and led 22-20 at halftime. Lighthouse did a better job of forcing the faster pace it likes in the second half, but never was able to shake the defending 3A champs.

The Wolves took a 39-38 lead into the fourth quarter and the game stayed close until the very end.

JLC’s Gerald Doakes hit the game-winning shot with four seconds to go. HA called timeout and got a good look at the game-winner, but the shot was off the mark.

“They’re a pretty good team,” JLC coach Kelvin Parker said. “They ran some good sets and defended well. But we won that game with our defense. Our shooting was off, but it was our best defensive game of the year. We did a good job of talking and switching off, and keeping their shooters from getting open.”

Doakes finished that game with 22 points while Cameron Shaffer added 10.

On Friday, Carlisle had little answer for the numerous scorers the Wolves boast, and had trouble breaking the JLC press. Lighthouse scored a whopping 34 points in the first quarter and held a 21-point lead. It was 54-27 at halftime and 80-37 by the end of the third quarter.

Devonte Davis led the Wolves (13-1, 3-0) in that game with 16 points. Doakes added 14 and Eric Childs scored 10. Reggie Adell and Jakalon Simuel each added nine.

In the tournament championship game, Guy-Perkins was happy to play fast with Lighthouse in the first half, and beat them at their own game. GPHS took a 41-36 advantage in the locker room, but the Wolves dominated the second half.

They outscored the Thunderbirds 33-12 in the third quarter for a 69-53 lead, and closed the game with a 31-point fourth quarter.

“They were basically playing defense with four and snowbirding one out,” Parker said of Guy-Perkins’ first-half strategy. “They were banking on us missing and having an open shot. We figured some things out at halftime. They also weren’t very deep, and they got tired trying to run with us the whole time. They didn’t handle the press very well after fatigue set in a little bit.”

Doakes led the third-quarter outburst, scoring 16 of his game-high 23 points in that period. Troy Spivey scored 15 of his 16 in the fourth quarter. Zack Bobo added 11 points and Shaffer scored 10 for the Wolves.

Monday’s game at Hazen was over shortly after it began. Hazen coach Clint Honnol called two timeouts in the first three minutes, and nothing helped. He called his third timeout with 4:04 left in the first quarter, and the score was already 20-2.

With a 1:10 still remaining in the first quarter, Bobo’s 3-pointer made it 40-5. The score was 40-9 by the end of the quarter, largely because the Wolves started getting creative, but not very successfully, with how they scored after steals and turnovers in the final minute of the period.

“When they get a game in hand like that, I don’t mind them trying to have a little fun,” Parker said.

Davis was the beneficiary of most of the early turnovers. He scored 23 points in the first quarter (20 on layups) and finished with a game-high 34.

Remarkably, only two other Wolves were in double figures, and both came off the bench. Childs finished with 11 while Spivey added 10. All 15 players on the roster play considerable minutes, and 13 got on the scoreboard.

The Wolves took an incredible 92 shots in the game, making 37 of them. They were just 4 of 22 from 3-point range and 18 of 31 from the foul line. Davis went 15 of 19 from the floor, made his only 3-point attempt and went 3 for 3 from the free-throw line.

Grant Shelman led Hazen (0-6, 0-2) with 19 points and 14 rebounds.


The girls’ game at Hazen wasn’t as successful for the Lady Wolves. Hazen led 19-2 at the end of the first quarter and went on to a 55-13 victory. JLC committed 36 turnovers and was outrebounded 54-28. The Lady Wolves struggled tremendously to make baskets as well, hitting just five times in 41 attempts, and going 3 for 13 from the free-throw line.

The team played much better at the Conway Regional Tournament, but still couldn’t come away with another win after getting its first in three years last Tuesday against Marvell.

The Lady Wolves closed the tournament with a 47-44 loss to Sacred Heart, a private school in Morrilton. The two teams played evenly for a half before JLC took a 38-35 lead into the fourth quarter. Things broke down at that point, and the Lady Wolves only managed six free throws and no baskets from the floor in the final frame.

Amaya English led the Lady Wolves with 23 points.

The JLC boys and girls travel to England on Friday.