Friday, March 03, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Jacksonville sent home by Jonesboro

Leader sports editor

PEARCY – The Jacksonville Titans kept their season alive Wednesday and reached the second round of the Class 6A state basketball tournament by defeating the host Lake Hamilton Wolves 75-59. But on Friday, the Titans ran into undefeated and nationally ranked Jonesboro, and fell 71-45 in the quarterfinals.

Jonesboro jumped out to an 11-2 lead, but Jacksonville answered that opening salvo. The tide turned irreversibly in the second period as the Hurricane outscored the Titans 23-6, taking the lead for good with 4:40 left in the first half. Jonesboro (30-0) led 35-21 at intermission, and increased that margin to 24 by the start of the fourth quarter. No Jacksonville player score in double figures. Tyree Appleby led the Titans with eight points while DaJuan Ridgeway, Chris Williams and Joe Phillips scored seven apiece. Desi Sills led the Hurricane with 14. Jonathan Adams had 13 and Marquis Eaton scored 12.

Wednesday’s win was close in the beginning, with the Titans only leading by one at the end of the first quarter. Thelead stretched to a more comfortable seven points at the end of the half, and to 13 at the end of three quarters. The fourth quarter was the highest scoring for both teams, but Jacksonville still won the quarter by three points to set the 16-point final margin.

“Playing the home team in a state tournament on their own court is always huge,” said Jacksonville coach Victor Joyner. “I thought the kids showed a lot of poise. They paid a lot of attention to the details. With number three (Jordan Harper), they’ve got 17 plays. They run 14 of them for one guy. He gets off two threes in the first half, and don’t score the rest of the game. DaJuan Ridgeway did an outstanding job on him – shut him down for the rest of the game. Outside of number four (Clyde Hill), who was a tough cover for us, the kids paid attention to the scouting report and the details, and the Lord blessed us, and we came out with one.”

Jordan Harper started the games scoring with a 3-point basket for Lake Hamilton. Joseph Phillips answered with a score under the basket for the Titans. Harper hit his second and last three of the game, but Tyree Appleby had a steal and lay-up for Jacksonville. Then a turnover by the Wolves resulted in an Appleby dunk, and the score was tied at 6-6.

Several free throws followed, including 2 of 3 for the Titans’ HD Martin, who was fouled on a 3-pointer. Lake Hamilton took a brief lead at 12-11, but Chris Williams had an offensive rebound put back for a 13-12 Jacksonville lead at the end of one period.

Williams also scored the first points of the second quarter with a 2-pointer under the basket. Martin connected on a 3-point bucket, then Ridgeway on a lay-up on an assist by Appleby. A lay-up by Appleby and a three by Ridgeway closed out the second frame scoring for the Titans, giving them a 25-18 lead at intermission.

Christian White scored the first six points of the third quarter for Jacksonville. Martin scored on a baseline drive, but couldn’t complete the old-fashioned 3-point play. Appleby was fouled on a 3-pointer and sank all three ensuing free throws. Clyde Hill had scored three times in the lane for the Wolves, and Mondo Watkins scored a 2-pointer and the plus one free throw to cut the lead to 42-35. However, Appleby sank a three on one end, then had a block on the other, and saved the ball in-bounds resulting in a Martin lay-up plus one free throw to stretch the lead to 48-35 at the quarters end.

Jacksonville out scored the Wolves 27-24 in the final quarter. Hill was busy for Lake Hamilton with five scores in the paint and 2 of 4 free throws. Appleby had seven in the period for the Titans, Williams had six, and White had six also, including a dunk. Kavion Walker had the last score for Jacksonville in the lane, and Sebastion Vinson hit his second 3-pointer of the quarter for the Wolves to set the score at 75-59.

Appleby led Jacksonville in scoring with 24 points. Martin had 14 points, White 12, Williams 10, and Ridgeway eight points.

Hill had 18 points for Lake Hamilton, and Vinson was next with 13.