Friday, February 17, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Wolves upset by WCC Bears

Leader sports editor

QUITMAN – The Jacksonville Lighthouse Wolves played one good game in the 2A-4 East District tournament in Quitman this week, and it wasn’t the last one. The Wolves lost the district championship game 66-55 to White County Central on Thursday at QHS.

In the first round, the Wolves suffered from having nearly two full weeks without a game, but still stumbled its way to a 68-59 win over a Bigelow team with an 11-14 record.

In the semifinals, they dominated the second half to beat England 74-56 in their best performance of the tournament. But on Thursday, the Bears were able to slow the pace with a 1-3-1 zone, and Lighthouse did not shoot well enough to bust it.

Lighthouse coach Kelvin Parker felt the tight officiating benefited WCC, but didn’t believe that was the deciding factor.

“We just didn’t shoot like we usually do,” said Parker. “We can usually get teams out of that zone, but we just missed shots we usually make. It wasn’t just from outside. We missed floaters, layups, free throws. Even with the foul trouble we got into, if we make shots we normally make, we win that game.”

Lighthouse got off to a decent start; taking a 7-3 lead and getting the ball back after Devontae Davis took a charge. That’s when the proverbial lid was put on the rim. The Wolves went cold and the Bears went on an 11-2 run. WCC eventually took a 31-22 lead into halftime.

Lighthouse made several charges in the second half, but never could pull even. The first one came late in the third quarter. WCC led 38-29 when the Wolves scored six-straight to get to within three with 37 seconds left in the quarter. Lighthouse freshman Gerald Doakes hit a free throw to make it 38-35, and had one left. But he was called for a violation for starting his shooting motion, then stopping to reset.

JLC senior Zack Bobo got a steal that appeared clean and would have resulted in a wide-open dunk, but was called for a foul. That sent Austin Williams to the line for a 1-and-1, and he made both for a 40-35 lead.

Lighthouse turned it over on a mishandled interior pass with two seconds left. WCC’s subsequent inbound pass from underneath the JLC basket went to halfcourt, where Hunter Jackson made a 48-foot shot for a 43-35 lead going into the fourth.

After falling behind 50-40 midway through the fourth, the Wolves went on another spree and cut it to 52-48 after a steal and layup by Davis with 2:40 remaining. That forced a WCC timeout. The Wolves forced a 10-second backcourt violation after the timeout to regain possession.

Eric Childs then missed a shot from the elbow. Landon Swindle got the rebound for the Bears and was fouled. He made 1 of 2 for a 53-48 lead. Bobo got the rebound of a Davis miss and put it back in, but the basket was waived off and Davis was called for a foul. Williams made two free throws at the other end, and instead of 53-50, the score was now 55-48 with 1:46 to go.

A 3-pointer by Bobo cut it to 59-55 with 49 seconds remaining, but the Wolves missed their last five shots and didn’t score again.

Williams led all scorers with 23 for the Bears (32-3). Jackson added 14 and Martin Carder added 13 for WCC.

Davis led Lighthouse (24-6) with 19 points while Bobo and Doakes each added 12.

Lighthouse went 11 of 19 from the foul line while WCC made 26 of 34.

In the win over England, Lighthouse outscored the Lions 23-9 in the third quarter to turn a 35-31-halftime advantage into an insurmountable 58-40 lead.

Davis also led the Wolves in that game with 22 points, but Bobo and Chris Mims each added 19. Mims went 5 of 7 from 3-point range.