Friday, February 10, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Jackrabbits finish playing well

Special to The Leader

It was senior night Tuesday at the Gina Cox Center in Lonoke, and the Lonoke Jackrabbits finished the regular season with a big win over the Estem Mets by a final of 58-48. The Jackrabbits finished the season with a conference record of 7-9 and 12-14 overall.

The win placed them fifth in the blended conference and will be the number 5 seed in the district tournament next week in Stuttgart. They will play Riverview Wednesday at 7:45. Baptist Prep finished first in the conference and will be the number 1 seed.

“A very good win,” said Lonoke coach Dean Campbell. “I think we’re carrying over some momentum from an exciting Mayflower game. Tyriqe (Jackson) hit one off the glass for a three to win by two at their place. The guys were focused and played really well. I’m proud of the way we fought on the defensive end and rebounded.

“I’m excited about the way we played. I thought we did a really good job of getting the ball from one side to the next and gave ourselves some opportunities to have some open looks. This group was coming together. They sense that it’s playoff time. It’s post season, and that’s what you play for. We don’t want to be satisfied, we’ve still got a lot of work.”

Lonoke jumped out to a 5-0 lead on a 3-point basket and two free throws by Tyriqe Jackson. Derrick Caffey answered with a two for the Mets, but a 3-pointer by Tyler Spencer gave the Jackrabbits a 8-2 advantage.

However, Estem scored eight unanswered to take the lead. Tony Bryant gave Lonoke the lead back and after a score by the Mets, Eshawn Brown scored for the Jackrabbits for the 13-12 edge at the end of a quarter.

Estem scored four to start the second, but two free throws by senior Isaac Toney and a long 3-pointer by senior Haven Hunter gave the Jackrabbits a three point lead. Hunter sank another three, and Jackson also had a 3-point basket from the corner as the score at intermission was 25-21 Lonoke.

Hunter hit his third 3-pointer to start the scoring for the Jackrabbits in the third period. Toney had two from the line and a driving lay-up, Hunter hit his fourth three, and Lonoke had a 35-29 lead.

The Mets answered with a lay-up by Jeremiah Enclade and a 3-pointer by Ben Weaver to come within one. Brown had an offensive rebound put back, but Caffey sank two free throws and Miolin Cummings sank a long 3-point basket at the buzzer to give Estem a 38-37 edge at the end of three quarters of play.

The Jackrabbits bounced right back with a two off the glass by Hunter to start the final frame. Toney scored twice, Jackson had an old-fashioned 3-point play, and Kylan Branscomb scored under the basket to stretch the lead to eight.

It was all Lonoke the entire quarter as Toney had a reverse lay-up, Branscomb another score, and Toney again on a lay-up off the baseline.

The Jackrabbits did struggle a bit at the end of the game from the line, and Xavier McGraw hit a late 3-point bucket for the Mets, but Toney set the final score of 58-48 with one of two double bonus free throws.

Toney led Lonoke in scoring with 16, followed by Hunter with 15 points, and Jackson with 11. Weaver and Caffey each had 13 points for Estem, and Enclade added 11.