Tuesday, January 17, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Wolves earn road win

Leader sports editor

Jacksonville Lighthouse Charter School got a split in a 2A-4-East Conference game, but not in the familiar way. The Lady Wolves picked up their second win of the season with a thrilling 37-35 victory, while the boys lost for the second-straight time on the road 92-83.

The girls’ game was the second win of the season for the Lady Wolves and second against Marvell, although JLCS had a much easier time in their 38-19 victory in Jacksonville in early December. Lighthouse appeared to be on its way to another lopsided win on Friday after taking a 14-5 lead in the first quarter, but Marvell showed some improvement in a month’s time.

“They certainly looked a little better,” said Lighthouse coach Chris Collier. “They had two or three scoring instead of just the one scoring the whole time. So we couldn’t just focus on one individual. So they had gotten a little better.”

Lighthouse (2-15, 2-5) also got a player back that had been out with injury, but it was a trade. Jordan Doakes sat out the first two months of the season before returning last Tuesday at Clarendon.

After getting her feet wet in that game, she posted seven points against Marvell. But the team was without Marla Dukes, who, according to Collier, is the team’s best defender.

“It was good to get Doakes back and I think she’ll contribute more and more as she gets settled in and more comfortable,” Collier said. “She’s pressing a little bit right now trying to do too much. But she’s going to get better and better.

“Losing Marla hurts us because she defends well. We’re going to miss her until she gets over this illness and gets cleared to play. I think her being out is a big reason why they scored 35 this time instead of 19. But it’s hard playing on the road so I’m not complaining.”

Marvell had cut Lighthouse’s lead to 22-16 by halftime, and to 29-25 by the end of the third quarter. Lighthouse built the lead back up to 10 in the fourth. But with about four minutes left in the game, junior Amaya English, JLC’s best ball handler, fouled out, and Marvell began pressuring to climb back into the game.

Jada Guy stepped to the line with about 12 seconds to go and made 1 of 2 free throws to give the Lady Wolves a 37-32 lead. Marvell got a 3-point play with one second to go on a foul that Collier was not pleased about.

“I called timeout after Jada made that free throw and told them, whatever you do, don’t foul,” Collier said. “So Jada is standing there with her arms folded into her chest. The girl runs the length of the court and jumps into her, and they call a foul. Only reason I didn’t come unglued is because there was just one second left and I knew all we had to do was throw the ball in to win it. But that one was bad.”

Guy led Lighthouse with 17 points while English scored 11. Tyiesha Banks led Marvell with 15 points.

Both teams were terrible from the free-throw line. Lighthouse made 8 of 24 while Marvell was just 6 for 19.

In the boys’ game, The Wolves never led from start to finish. Marvell scored the first five points of the game. Lighthouse responded with a 5-2 run, but Marvell answered with five-straight for a 12-5 lead. Lighthouse answered with a 6-0 run to cut it to one, but could never get in front.

The Mustangs (9-2, 4-1) took an 18-14 lead into the second period, and then opened that frame with a 3-pointer. That lead grew to as much as 13 at 39-26, and the margin was 42-30 at halftime.

Lighthouse pulled to within 57-54 1:30 left in the third, but Marvell closed that frame with a 7-2 run for a 64-56 advantage going into the fourth quarter.

The Wolves never got any closer the rest of the game. Marvell scored first and led by at least nine until Lighthouse briefly cut it to 81-73 with two minutes to play, but the Mustangs scored six-straight from that point to stretch the lead back to 14 in just 40 seconds.

The Mustangs’ win avenged an earlier loss to Lighthouse. The Wolves beat Marvell 82-75 in Jacksonville on Dec. 6. Marvell’s only other loss this season was to Class 4A Dollarway.

Lighthouse started the season winning 14 of its first 15 games, including an 11-game win streak from Nov. 8 to Dec. 16. Since the Christmas break, the Wolves have lost four of five, and now stand 15-5 overall and 5-2 in league play.

They played at Carlisle on Tuesday and will host Hazen on Friday. Lighthouse beat those two teams earlier this year by scores of 91-41 and 96-41 respectively during the 11-game streak.

Gerald Doakes led Lighthouse with 31 points. Devontae Davis added 12, Chris Mims 11 and Zack Bobo 10.