Tuesday, February 14, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Titans’ late run leads to victory

Leader sports editor

The Jacksonville Titans have suffered a few late collapses, but they managed to stave one off on Friday in a 62-48 victory over Little Rock Hall. Friday’s meeting at JHS was the third this season between the two teams, and served as the rubber match after each team won previously.

Jacksonville beat Hall 69-65 at the Coke Classic in Fort Smith, then lost to the Warriors 46-45 at Hall High after leading the entire game.

The Titans led the whole way on Friday as well, but saw a 35-23 third-quarter lead reduced to 42-39 by the start of the fourth. That was down to 50-48 with 2:33 left in the game, and Hall appeared to have all the momentum when Jacksonville blew a transition alley-oop to give the Warriors possession with 2:20 left. But they would not score again the rest of the way.

Jacksonville reserve guard Antoine Davis came up with a huge defensive steal on the ensuing possession. He passed to Tyree Appleby, who had beat the defense back for a dunk and a 52-48 lead. It was the first of 12-straight Titan points to close the game.

“We got a win,” said Jacksonville coach Vic Joyner. “I don’t care how we got there at this point. We got a win, and it was an important one. It should give us the higher seed when we have to play this tournament.”

Appleby led all scorers with 22 points while senior guard DaJuan Ridgeway added 17 for the Titans.

Jacksonville is now 16-12 overall and 6-6 in the 5A/6A-Central Conference, but that conference mark means nothing in this new era of blended conferences. Hall is the only team Jacksonville played in a conference game this year that will be in the conference tournament they play in that begins on Saturday.

The Titans move to the 6A-East Conference tournament, and will most likely be the three seed. The athletic directors for 6A-East schools meet on Wednesday to sort it all out, but preliminary seedings have Jonesboro as the top seed, West Memphis second and Jacksonville third. Pine Bluff is fourth, then Hall, Marion, Mountain Home and Searcy respectively.

There is no tournament site, all games will be played at the higher seed’s home gym. As it stands, Jacksonville will host Marion on Saturday, then either play at West Memphis or hosts Mountain Home on Tuesday.

The Lady Titans (12-17, 4-8) suffered a miserable shooting performance in a 60-51 loss. The Jacksonville ladies beat Hall 50-47 on Jan. 13 in Little Rock. On Friday, they made just 21 of a whopping 76 shot attempts. Even worse than that, they made only 7 of 25 free throws.

The Lady Warriors (5-17, 3-9) didn’t light it up from the floor, making 19 of 52 shot attempts, but they did shoot relatively well from the line, hitting 20 of 31.

The abundance of missed shots led to a lot of rebounds, where Jacksonville won that battle 47-42. Sharonda Perry and Shy Christopher both finished with nine points and 11 rebounds for Jacksonville. Allison Seats led all scorers with 18 points, despite going 0 for 9 from 3-point range.

Alaysia Kelly led Hall with 15 points and 15 rebounds. Allexis Burns had 16 points and six rebounds. Amber Brooks had 15 points and seven boards and Allexias Adams had 12 points and seven rebounds.

The Lady Titans preliminary seeding is seven, with Hall eighth, but that could change at today’s meeting.