Friday, February 24, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Lighthouse hammers Highlanders

Special to The Leader

Jacksonville Lighthouse advanced to the second round of the 2A West/Central regional tournament by easily defeating the Eureka Springs Highlanders by a final of 72-38 Thursday at Pangburn High School. Lighthouse (25-6) was in control the entire game, leading 23-6 after one quarter and outscoring the Highlanders (22-10) in every quarter except the last, in which the scoring was even.

“We shot the ball real well today,” said Jacksonville Lighthouse coach Kelvin Parker. “I knew coming in that a lot of teams would probably play us zone because of our quickness. I’m looking forward to us shooting the ball well this whole tournament, because we’ve been having good practices shooting the ball. Once the shots start falling, it’s just like throwing rocks in a lake. The guys get their confidence like that.”

The Wolves jumped out to a 12-0 lead, and the first period was almost halfway over before Eureka Springs could score. Gerald Doakes had a pair of 3-pointers and a layup, and Cameron Shaffer scored an old-fashioned 3-point play under the basket during the opening run. Carter Drennon answered with two scores around the basket for the Highlanders.

Lighthouse stretched the lead to 20-4 on an offensive rebound putback and a three by Chris Mims and a steal and score layup by Shaffer. A pair of free throws was all Eureka Springs could manage the rest of the quarter, as they could not get any offense going against the Wolves’ defense.

Doakes hit his third 3-pointer from almost half court to beat the buzzer for the 23-6 opening period advantage.

The Highlanders did score first in the second frame, but Lighthouse kept the pressure on and kept hitting baskets, outscoring Eureka Springs 20-12. Eric Childs started the scoring with a shot in the lane, Zack Bobo and Davonte Davis each had a two and a 3-pointer, and Doakes sank yet another long three to end the half. The halftime lead was 43-18.

In the third quarter, the Wolves scored 21 points to 12 again for the Highlanders. Mims had a driving baseline layup, and Bobo had a free throw and layup for a 52-20 lead. Childs scored on two consecutive layups, was fouled on the third, and made one of the two ensuing free throws. He also had an offensive rebound put back of his own miss. Garrett Cross had five points in the period for Eureka, and the score at the end of three was 64-30.

Each team scored eight in the final frame. Lee Smith scored on a putback and a 3-point basket for Lighthouse. Courtney Jefferson was fouled in the lane and made one of two from the line, and Joshua McNair had an offensive rebound putback. JM Gregg had four of his team leading 15 points in the period for the Highlanders. Eureka did score the final four points of the game to set the final score of 72-38.

Doakes led Jacksonville Lighthouse in scoring with 20 points. Bobo contributed 12, Childs 10, and Shaffer and Mims had seven points each.