Wednesday, November 08, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Coach satisfied with Titan start

Leader sports editor

The Jacksonville boys looked impressive in their exhibition outing Saturday in the jamboree they hosted at JHS. The Titans played one half against two different teams, beating Hot Springs 33-16 and then defeating Riverview 33-23. But head coach Victor Joyner warns not to read too much into the effort.

“It was pretty good, you know, for the first time out,” said Joyner. “I don’t think either one of those teams were full strength. But we did some good things at times. I thought defensively we were pretty good. Kids hustled and rotated well, protected the rim, didn’t give up anything easy. So it was all right. But this is nothing like the teams we’re about to get ready to play. We’re going to have to get a lot better.”

Joyner didn’t treat the scrimmages like real games either. He rotated two full units back and forth every four minutes with no other substitutions. It took a bit for the first basket, but once it was scored, Jacksonville made it three more in a hurry. Junior Joe Phillips scored by putting back his own miss. His fellow post player Christian White then got a steal and dished to Michael Terry for a six-footer. Terrythen stole the ball and hit a layup. Hot Springs got down the court and put up a quick shot, but it was blocked by Braylon Hawkins. Phillips grabbed the loose ball and passed to Caleb Kendrick, who made a 15-footer from the baseline that made it 8-0 and forced a Hot Springs timeout with six minutes left in the first quarter.

The Trojans finally scored after a long possession. Kendrick answered with a 3-pointer that made it 11-2 before the second five entered the game.

That group’s first bucket was a 3-pointer by freshman Ryan Maxwell Jr. (R.J.) that put Jacksonville up 14-2. The two teams traded scoreless possessions before the Trojans hit 1 of 2 free throws. R.J.’s cousin and classmate Jordan Maxwell then scored to make it 16-3 with 1:14 to play in the opening period. Hot Springs hit a 3-pointer moments later, but R.J. put back a Jordan Maxwell miss for the Titans’ last bucket of the period.

The Trojans scored last however, hitting both free throws after being sent to the line with less than two seconds to go.

Another Trojan trip to the line started the second period, and they hit 1 of 2. White then put back his own miss on offense, and then blocked a shot on defense. Hawkins followed the blocked shot with a 3-pointer that gave the Titans their biggest lead of the n night at 23-9.

Jacksonville went a little cold from the floor at that point. The defense got several stops, but the offense missed two shots on one possession, and then missed layups on the next two.

The Titans next three points came on two trips to the free-throw line before the second group checked back into the game with a 26-15 lead. That group held the Trojans to just one free throw over the last half of the second quarter.

Jalen Taylor got a steal and went the line. He missed the second shot, but R.J. Maxwell got the rebound and passed to Jordan Maxwell for the bucket at the 29-15 lead. Taylor knocked the ball loose again and Jordan Maxwell scooped it up. He passed to R.J. for another layup with one minute to go.

Hot Springs’ next possession ended with a steal by Antoine Davis, and that resulted in a fast-break slam by Jordan Maxwell for Jacksonville’s final points. Hot Springs again ended the quarter at the line and made 1 of 2 to set the final margin.

Jacksonville started slowly again against Riverview. Michael Terry started the scoring with an and-one. Kendrick then hit a 3-pointer for a 6-0 lead with 6:08 left in the first period. But that lead only lasted about a minute. Jacksonville went cold and Riverview tied the score with 4:55 on the clock. Hawkins got a putback and the first group left the floor with an 8-6 lead.

Taylor scored first for the second group, but Riverview hit a 3-pointer to make it 10-9.

Davis made 1 of 2 free throws on Jacksonville’s next possession. The Raiders then had a chance to take the lead, going to the line twice trailing by two points, but missed all four free throws. Davis then penetrated the lane and hit a floater for a 13-9 lead with 1:17 left in the first quarter. After another defensive stop, Jacksonville got a four-point possession.

Jabril Smith got the line and hit 1 of 2. R.J. Maxwell got the rebound and putback, and was fouled. He made the free throw for a17-9 lead. Taylor made 19-9 with 22 seconds left, and Riverview hit another 3-pointer before the buzzer.

Kendrick answered that three to start the second period, and Riverview answered right back to make it 22-15. White got a putback and Hawkins added another 3-pointer before Riverview scored again to make it 27-27 before the second group re-entered.

That four-minute span was the only one Jacksonville did not win outright, with both teams scoring six more point to end the contest.