SPORTS >>Devils sweep up Lions
By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor
Opening night was a good one for Jacksonville basketball. The Red Devils and Lady Devils swept Little Rock McClellan at the Devils’ Den in Jacksonville.
The 46-39 win for the Lady Devils was the first season-opening win in four years. The boys dominated throughout, and pulled away for a 58-25 victory.
The Jacksonville boys held the Lions scoreless throughout the third quarter. They ran up a 12-0 lead over the first four minutes, but scored just one more basket the rest of the period. After trading some baskets in the early portion of the second quarter, the Red Devils went on another tear and took a 33-11 lead into intermission.
The onslaught picked right up again in the third, and by the 1:40 mark, then led 48-17, invoking the mercy rule.
The continuous clock in the fourth quarter made for a quick ending, and Jacksonville outscored McClellan just 3-2 in the final frame to set the final margin.
Despite the huge margin of victory, Jacksonville coach Vic Joyner was not pleased with his team.
“We didn’t execute our offense,” Joyner said. “We had dribble-itis and we didn’t move the ball when we needed to. We didn’t get it inside, we didn’t even look inside most of the time. We don’t have anybody out there with any experience, and we have got to learn to follow a game plan.”
The Red Devils forced 22 turnovers, but committed 21. Joyner said that was a result of not running the offense. They dominated the boards, however, out-rebounding the Lions a whopping 40-13. That was one area where the head Red Devil was willing to give some credit.
“We did a good job of boxing out and crashing the board,” Joyner said. “It was just decision making with the ball. The only difference in this game is that early on we knocked down a few open jumpers and they didn’t. If they had hit some of those, this would have been a completely different game.”
Sophomore LeQuentin Miles was the 12th man off the bench for Jacksonville, but he made the most of his time on the floor, leading the Red Devils in scoring with 14 points.
Senior Kajuan Watson was the only other Devil in double figures with 13.
The Lady Devils turned a 15-11 advantage after one quarter into a 17-point margin at 32-15 by halftime. They did it with an aggressive defense that forced seven Lady Lion turnovers in the second quarter. They also got a huge lift off the bench by junior post Rochelle Livings. After entering the game in the second quarter, she scored six points and grabbed six rebounds to lead the charge.
The 17-point margin almost wasn’t enough. McClellan switched to a man defense in the second half, and slowly chipped away at Jacksonville’s lead.
The margin was cut to 10 by the end of the third quarter at 40-30. With 1:30 to play, it was 43-37. McClellan got an open look at a three that rimmed out, and the two teams traded turnovers for the next minute of play.
The Lady Lions pulled to within four with a pair of free throws with 17 seconds left and had a chance to cut deeper into the lead after a quick Jacksonville turnover. McClellan, though, turned it back over and Jacksonville’s Tarneshia Scott got a layup and free throw with seven seconds left to set the final margin and seal the win.
Jacksonville coach Katrina Mimms took most of the blame for the McClellan comeback.
“We didn’t work much on man for two reasons,” Mimms said. “We really needed to work on what we did wrong in our jamboree, and, we watched McClellan in theirs and they didn’t run it all. So it kind of caught us off guard. You always need to be ready for it, but we had to spend a lot of time working on other things. We’ll be working on it a lot in the near future. That’s for sure.”
Scott led all scorers with 13 points for Jacksonville. Chamky Billingslea and Maria Livings added nine each for the Lady Devils. Rochelle Livings totaled eight points and nine rebounds in the win.
Jacksonville will get back to action next Tuesday with a road trip to Little Rock Central.