Tuesday, December 27, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Titans power past Wolves

Leader sports editor

Experience prevailed over potential Thursday at the Titan Classic. Tournament host Jacksonville High ran away from 2A powerhouse Jacksonville Lighthouse Charter in the second quarter in a highly anticipated meeting between the hometown schools. The 6A Titans trailed early, but outscored the Wolves 26-7 in the second period en route to a 77-55 victory.

Lighthouse’s two leading scorers are freshmen, and one, Gerald Doakes, is a Top-25 nationally ranked prospect for 2020 graduates. But the Titans did a number on Doakes defensively. Averaging 23 points per game, JHS held Doakes scoreless on 0 for 11 shooting and 0 for 2 from the free-throw line.

His teammate and classmate, Devontae Davis, dropped in a game-high 26 points, but it wasn’t nearly enough for the senior-laden Titans.

Jacksonville senior Tyree Appleby scored 25 while his teammate and classmate DaJuan Ridgeway scored 17 to lead the Titans.

Jacksonville played a straight man-to-man defense most of the game, and coach Vic Joyner saidthe difference between Thurs-day’s game and Wednesday’s 13-point loss to Little Rock Central was execution.

“We didn’t change what we were doing in the first half,” said Joyner. “We’ve been ahead at halftime in just about every game. We were ahead of Central and making it look easy. But we get away from what we were doing and try to go one-on-one. We still got away from it more than I wanted tonight, but we’d get back to it. When we got away from it (in the previous game) we never recovered. We had guys that just kept going and doing their own thing. If we’ll play team basketball we can beat anybody.”

Davis scored the first four points in a first quarter that featured eight lead changes Jacksonville answered the opening salvo with seven points in a row. Appleby and junior guard Harderrious Martin each made 3-pointers to spark the run. Senior Wolf Cameron Shaffer then scored four straight to give JLC a one-point lead.

Ridgeway answered with a 3-pointer, and Davis answered that with one of his own to make it 11-10 Wolves.

Martin hit a pull-up jumper from the baseline to give the lead back to Jacksonville, and JLC senior guard Chris Mims hit a deep 3-pointer to the Wolves back up 14-12 with 1:30 left in the first period.

A 3-point play by Joe Phillips put Jacksonville back up by one, but Mims then hit one from about 30 feet for a 17-15 Lighthouse lead with 50 seconds left in the quarter.

Ridgeway then made a driving floater to tie the game with 30 seconds left.

Davis missed a 15-foot pull-up with about 12 seconds to go. Ridgeway got the rebound and threw a court-length outlet pass to Phillips, who got a wide-open slam dunk to end the period with Jacksonville leading 19-17.

It was the last lead change of the game.

The Titans (8-5) opened the second quarter with a four-minute, 20-3 run that all but put the game away. Jacksonville scored seven-straight before Lighthouse’s Zack Bobo hit a 3-pointer to make it 26-20. Jacksonville then scored 13 in a row, ending with a Martin steal and assist to Appleby for a transition dunk that made the score 39-20 and forced Lighthouse coach Kelvin Parker to call his third timeout.

Davis scored out of the break, but Appleby got another dunk on the ensuing possession, this time in the halfcourt set and was fouled. His free throw gave the Titans a 20-point lead with 2:27 left in the first half.

After a defensive stop, Appleby scored again for a 22-point Titan lead.

The Wolves pulled to within 15 twice in the third quarter, but each time Jacksonville answered with 8-0 runs.

The margin closed to 15 for the last time 90 seconds into the fourth quarter at 66-51, but Ridgeway scored five-straight during a 9-0 run that made it 75-51 with 4:19 remaining.

Joyner substituted wholesale at that point and the Titans only managed two more points the rest of the game, but the defense continued to make things difficult enough for Lighthouse (14-3) to only manage four.

Phillips added 13 for the Titans while senior Titan Chris Williams had nine points and 10 rebounds.

Mims was the only other Wolf in double figures. He finished with 13 points and had six boards. JHS outrebounded JLC 36-33. The Titans were 24 of 34 from the free-throw line while the Wolves made 10 of 19. Jacksonville committed just seven turnovers while Lighthouse had 15.

Jacksonville begins play at 2:30 p.m. today in the Coke Classic at UA-Fort Smith against Little Rock Hall.

Lighthouse is off until its conference game at Lisa Academy on Jan. 3.