Friday, December 30, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Lonoke avenges loss to Bison

Special to The Leader

The Lonoke Lady Jackrabbits defeated their county rival Car-lisle Lady Bison in the finals of the 2016 Goldfish Classis on Thursday night in the Gina Cox Center at LHS. The tournament host claimed the championship trophy, winning the contest by a score of 54-45. This was the second meeting of the season, with the Lady Bison winning the first.

Lonoke had reached the finals by defeating Hazen 53-21 in the opening round and then Stuttgart 49-21 on Wednesday. Carlisle defeated DesArc 51-38, then Malvern 51-22 to advance to the final game.

“I thought the kids played extremely hard defensively,” said Lonoke coach Heath Swiney. “That’s what we kind of hang our hats on, defensively. I thought that Carlisle’s kids played extremely, extremely hard. They’re a good team. They’re going to win a lot of games. That’s a good win for us. My kids, I couldn’t be prouder of them. They did everything I asked them to do. Anytime you only give up forty something points a game, you’ve got a chance to win every ballgame. I feel like if we can score fifty we’ve got a good chance to win the game.”

Carlisle coach Jonathan Buffalo had this to say of his team, “My kids did a good job of battling to the very end. They never gave up and made me proud with their effort. These kids work so hard.”

Lonoke took an early 6-0 lead on two 3-pointer baskets by Mia Brown. Kylie Warren answered for the Lady Bison with two free throws and a 3-pointer. Keiunna Walker put the Lady Jackrabbits ahead 12-5 with a three, but Warren responded with a 3-pointer from the corner. The score at the end of the first period was 18-10 Lonoke. Warren had all ten points for Carlisle, and Walker had eight for the Lady Jackrabbits.

The second quarter was closer as DeShaye Ricks had five of Carlisle’s 11 points, and Warren added another 3-point basket. Lonoke scored 12 in the quarter with Brown adding her third 3-pointer. Kaley Woodruff made 3 of 4 from the free throw line, and Hannah Moseley added two free throws. The score at the half was 30-21.

The Lady Jackrabbits pulled ahead 41-24 in the third on a 3-pointer by Gracie Hyde. Warren cut into the lead with a free throw and another 3-pointer, but the lead at the end of the quarter was 42-28.

To start the final quarter, Walker hit two free throws, Kennedy White had a steal and scored a lay-up, and Woodruff hit a 2-point basket to give Lonoke a 48-28 advantage.

The Lady Bison then went on a 12-1 run that cut the lead to nine at 49-40. Kayla Golleher led the way with a 3-point basket and 4 of 4 from the line.

Ashby Terry added three free throws. The last 1:37 consisted mainly of free throws as Carlisle had three players foul out and Lonoke one. The Lady Jackrabbits made 5 of 12 down the stretch to gain a 54-42 lead, but Ashley Harbison hit a long 3-pointer for the Lady Bison to set the final margin at 54-45.

Walker led Lonoke in scoring with 26 points, Brown had nine, and Woodruff seven. Warren had 19 points for Carlisle. Ricks and Golleher each added seven points.
In the semifinal win over Stuttgart, Lonoke had jumped out to a 12-3 advantage in the first period, only to be outscored 8-7 in the second.

The Lady Jackrabbits then outscored the Lady Ricebirds 30-10 in the second half for a final score of 49-21 Walker had 26 points to lead in scoring. Aniyah Hobbs had 14 points for Stuttgart.

In Carlisle’s semifinal victory over Malvern, Warren led the Lady Bison with 29 points.

Malvern won the game for third place by a score of 54-47 over Stuttgart.