SPORTS >> NPHS freshmen upset Red Devils
Leader sports editor
The North Pulaski freshman Falcons came from behind in the second half to pull off a minor upset Monday night in Metro Conference play with a 42-39 victory over crosstown rival Jacksonville.
The Falcons win blurs the early race for the final Metro Conference championship, giving Jacksonville one loss, and drops the Devils into a four-way tie for first with North Pulaski, North Little Rock and Cabot Junior High North.
The Falcons put together a furious rally after falling behind 30-24 late in the third quarter. From that point, the Falcons outscored Jacksonville 13-2 to take a 37-32 lead with two minutes left in the game, and held on for the victory.
“The kids played great tonight,” North Pulaski coach Todd Romaine said. “They’re so up and down. They played so poorly in the first half at Cabot, then came out tonight and played like this. I’m very proud of them. They gave a great effort and they played smart at the same time. It’s a good win.”
Falcon center Carlos Donely scored just two points in the first three quarters, but finished with 11 after going on a tear to lead NP in the fourth.
No shot was bigger than a 16-footer from the elbow that put the Falcons up 40-37 with 35 seconds left in the game. The shot rattled around the rim before popping straight up and falling straight back through.
“Everybody kind of gasped when he shot that, but that pretty much sealed it for us,” Romaine said. “It was a huge shot. He really stepped up. He got in early foul trouble and I couldn’t play him. When he went in there in the fourth quarter he played smart and he hit the big one.”
A rebound and putback by Antwan Lockhart pulled the Red Devils back to within 40-39 with 15 seconds left. North Pulaski guard Jordan Anderson was then fouled with 6.5 seconds left and went to the line, where he smoothly nailed both free throws to set the final margin.
Jacksonville’s LaQuentin Miles got an open look from three at the other end, but the shot was too long as time expired.
Jacksonville grabbed a small lead early in the game and kept it until the fourth quarter when the Falcons went on their 13-2 run.
NP had tied the game at 24-24 before Jacksonville scored six- straight points.
Romaine called timeout, but afterwards said he didn’t try to inspire his guys, just the opposite.
“It wasn’t gut-check time,” Romaine said. “I was trying to get them to calm down. I’ve got some good athletes this year, but we’re not going to out-athlete that bunch. They were getting us into a type of game that they were going to beat us at. I just called a play and told ‘em to relax and run the offense like they had been. They responded, they executed and you can see what it got us.”
Donley’s 11 led the Falcons. Anderson added 10 points while guard Stanley Appleby scored eight. Cody Wafe added seven for the Falcons.
Lockhart led all scorers with 13 points while Antonio Wash-ington added 10 for the Red Devils. Miles scored eight.
The two teams, as well as the rest of the Metro Conference, will be back in action next Monday. Jacksonville will host Oak Grove while North Pulaski travels to Mills.
North Little Rock improved to 4-1 with a home win over Mills Monday. Cabot North traveled to Sylvan Hills for another victory to also improve to 4-1.
Cabot South beat Oak Grove for its first conference win of the year, but is a major player in the title race this year despite the 1-3 record.
South took North Pulaski and North Little Rock into overtime this season, while losing by just four points to Jacksonville.