Tuesday, November 21, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Bruins push past JHS girls

Leader sports editor

The only thing certain about the consolation game of the Heavenly Hoops Classic is that Pulaski Academy beat Jacksonville. The actual final score may never be known, but the official final was 69-57 Saturday morning at Mount Saint Mary Academy in Little Rock.

There were so many discrepancies throughout the game between the clock keeper, the official scorekeeper, the two teams’ bookkeepers and the media tally, that the actual final score may never be known, but there wasn’t 12 points worth of discrepancies, and the Lady Bruins did indeed pull out a hard-fought victory over Jacksonville.

Pulaski Academy made the first run of the game, and went from trailing 7-4 to leading 11-7 with 3:20 left in the first quarter. That lead grew to as much as 16-9, though most of the scorekeepers in attendance, including the scoreboard operator, had it 15-9. Jacksonville’s Deshundria Shockley then hit a baseline floater to cut it to a five-point game. She also hit apair of free throws after forcing another turnover.

Yet another Shockley steal led to a pair of potentially game-tying free throws by Brittney Eskridge, but she missed both attempts, got her own rebound and missed a contested shot to end the first quarter with the scoreboard showing 15-13. But later refiguring changed that score to 16-13.

With the scoreboard at the start of the second period still showing 15-13, Jacksonville forced a five-second inbound violation to begin the quarter. Shockley then hit a 3-pointer that appeared to give Jacksonville a 16-15 lead, but the points were not added to the scoreboard.

Eskridge and Shy Christopher then added baskets that were reflected on the scoreboard, and Pulaski Academy point guard Mattie Hatcher added a bucket, which made the scoreboard show the score to be 17-17.

However, both teams’ bookkeepers showed Jacksonville with a 20-17 lead since Shockley’s 3-pointer had never been posted to the scoreboard. That prompted Jacksonville coach Marian Kursh to ask for a halt to the action to get the score actual score correct.

Once things were settled, Shockley was given credit for her 3-pointer, but another missing point was found for Pulaski Academy as well, making the score 20-18 in favor of Jacksonville with five minutes left in the first half.

Shockley then added another baseline jumper for a four-point Jacksonville lead with 4:32 to play in the half, but somehow the scoreboard showed a basket being scored for both teams and another stoppage occurred.

Once that was cleared up, the scoreboard reflected the correct score, and Jacksonville led by four.

From that point, the Lady Titans turned the ball over on four-straight possessions, and PA closed the first half with a 9-2 run. The Lady Bruins took a 27-24 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Jacksonville (1-4) started the third quarter well, scoring the first five points and taking a two-point lead, but PA answered by doubling that run and scoring 10 in a row for a 37-29 advantage. With three minutes left in the third.

The lead remained eight points until Pulaski Academy’s Isis Woods penetrated the lane and got away with a forearm to Tori Briggs’ face. After knocking Briggs to the floor, Woods hit an open lay-in to send the Lady Bruins (2-1) into the fourth quarter holding a 46-36 lead.

Things broke down defensively for both teams and the fourth quarter became a layup contest with neither Jacksonville gaining ground, nor PA pulling away.

Christopher had her second-straight monster game, finishing with 36 points, including 16 in the fourth rapid-paced fourth quarter. She scored 35 in Thursday’s win over Mount Saint Mary.

Shockley turned in a solid performance as well, finishing with a balanced stat line of 11 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals. Eskridge led the team in rebounding with eight while Briggs added a team high five steals.

Hatcher led Pulaski Academy with 29 points. Jazmene McMillian came off the bench to score 20 and Woods added 12. Jacksonville has one game next week before Thanksgiving break, hosting Monticello on Tuesday.