Tuesday, January 17, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> JHS ladies hang on to victory at LR Hall

Special to The Leader

The Jacksonville Lady Titans held on for a 50-47 road victory over the Hall Lady Warriors in Little Rock on Friday night. Jacksonville (10-10,3-1) led by nine at the end of three quarters of play, but the Lady Warriors (2-12,0-3) scored 17 points in the fourth to pull within two points late in the quarter.

“I don’t really think they came out ready to play,” said Jacksonville coach Marian Kursh. “I’m extremely excited that they finished the game, but we made a lot of unnecessary mistakes. Twenty-eight turnovers, I don’t think we’ve done that all season long. We just try to be mindful and tell the girls that when you’re playing away, you have to be more focused than when you are at home. They made some mistakes that we just have to work through, but I’m glad they pulled it out.”

Shymaryia Christopher scored the first five points for the Lady Titans. Taking advantage of early turnovers by Hall, a lay-up by Alexis James gave Jacksonville a 7-2 advantage. The Lady Warriors then scored six straight to take the 8-7 edge.

Martina Knight scored a 2-pointer for the Lady Titans, but could not hit the free throw for the three point play. Elexis Lofland did follow with the old-fashioned 3-point play to give the lead back to Hall, but Dayzya Jordan tied the game at 11-11 with a floater in the lane. Alexias Burns answered with a 2-point basket to give the Lady Warriors the 13-11 lead at the end of the opening frame.

Jacksonville came back to outscore the home team 14-8 in quarter number two. Hall had a 17-14 lead when Allison Seats sank two free throws and Jordan one to knot the game at 17. Christopher had an offensive rebound put-back plus one free throw, and James scored on a turnover resulting from the Lady Titan press.

A 2-pointer by Seats on a baseline out-of-bounds play gave Jacksonville the 24-19 lead. Amber Brooks connected on a two at the buzzer for Hall, and the score at intermission was 25-21.

The third quarter belonged to the Lady Titans as again they outscored their opponent, this time 14-9 to take a 39-30 lead into the final quarter. Christopher had ten of the 14 points and Knight the other four.

To start the fourth quarter, Christopher extended the lead to 42-30 with the old-fashioned 3-point play on a driving lay-up. The score was 46-35 when Hall went on an eight point run to cut the lead to 46-43 with 3:16 remaining in the game. The teams exchanged free throws, then Taylor Toombs scored under the basket for Jacksonville and for a five point edge. Brooks sank her second three-point basket of the quarter for the Lady Warriors to cut the lead back to two at 49-47.

A missed one-and-one opportunity by Christopher gave Brooks another shot at a three, but it was missed and rebounded by the Lady Titans. Jacksonville was running some time off the clock, and the Hall coaches were screaming for their team to foul with 27.2 seconds remaining. Knight fielded a pass under the basket and was fouled on her shot attempt.

She made the first of two from the line, and a held ball was called on the rebound of the second. The possession went to Hall. Another 3-pointer was missed, and rebounded by Jacksonville. However, a walk was called, and the Lady Warriors had possession on the baseline of their basket.

A foul was called on the Lady Titans on the in-bounds pass, putting Brooks at the line for two free throws in the double bonus. She missed both, and the rebound and game went to Jacksonville by the final of 50-47. Hall was 7 of 19 from the free throw stripe for the game, and missed ten in the second half.

The freshman, Christopher, led Jacksonville in scoring with 25 points, and Knight was next with nine points. Burns had 18 for Hall, and Brooks had 15 points.