Leader Blues

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

SPORTS >> Red Devils fall short in Cyclone title game

Leader sports editor

The Jacksonville Red Devils won the second-place trophy Saturday at the Russellville tournament, but if it were up to head coach Vic Joyner, they wouldn’t have accepted it.

Joyner was unhappy with the officiating in the championship game against the host team, and left the second-place trophy sitting at midcourt during post-tournament ceremonies, shortly after his team lost 61-60 to the Cyclones.
Assistant coach Jerry Wilson went back minutes later and picked the trophy up.

“I wouldn’t accept that trophy for anybody’s money,” Joyner said Monday. “There wasn’t anyway we were going to win. There was one official that I don’t think called any other game in the whole tournament, and he called us for everything in that fourth quarter.

They had us in a catch 22 and they knew it. We couldn’t go zone because they can shoot well, but we couldn’t play man because they’d just go to the line for every little thing. Their coach kept yelling drive, drive. And I don’t blame the coach. I commend him. He knew he was getting that call every time, so he was calling for that call every time, so he was calling for it. But there was nothing we could do with that one official.”
The line score seems to indicate a sudden burst of fouls by Jacksonville and a definite burst of scoring for the Cyclones.

Russellville’s score-by quarter was 10-10-11-30. The Cyclones shot 31 free throws in the game, 17 in the fourth quarter. They hit 25 of those, including 13 in the fourth.

Jacksonville shot 15 free throws, and made four of six in the final period. The two misses in the fourth were the only two the whole game.
Jacksonville led by 31-20 at halftime and 44-31 at the end of three.

Joyner admitted his players lost their composure amidst the controversial fourth-quarter.

“Did they lose their heads? Yes,” Joyner said. “Should they have lost their heads? Maybe not, but I’m telling you I can’t blame ‘em too much. We did have some plays in the fourth quarter where we went down there and threw the ball away. We still could have won that game, maybe. I don’t know. Maybe the only reason they didn’t call something is because they didn’t have to.”

Joyner says he’ll never return to a Russellville tournament again, but admits he probably won’t be invited.

Russellville guard Marcus Pillow led all scorers with 27 points. He was 13 for 15 from the line. Lavar Neely led Jacksonville with 17, while K.C. Credit added 11 for the Devils, who are now 6-2 on the season.

Jacksonville is off until Friday when it hosts the rematch with North Pulaski.