SPORTS >>Freshmen Red Devils split with War Eagles
Leader sports editor
The freshmen Lady Red Devils got their season off to a great start Monday night, and in exciting fashion. The Jacksonville ninth-graders defeated JA Fair 34-33 on the road to start the season 1-0. The Red Devil boys weren’t as fortunate, falling 47-28 to start 0-1.
The Lady Red Devils got 15 points from guard Tiara Clark, but Clark went down with an ankle injury with two minutes left in the game while Jacksonville led 34-28. With her leading scorer out for the remainder of the game, and the team playing good defense, head coach Tanya Ganey decided to try to sit on the lead.
“I decided to just hold the ball a little bit rather than shoot and maybe let them have the basketball,” Ganey said. “The strategy worked well until one mistake with 10 seconds left.” Trailing 34-30, the Lady War Eagles were forced to foul, but were not yet in the bonus. Jacksonville, though, stepped across the line on the inbound pass, giving it back to Fair with 10 ticks of the clock left.
Fair streaked down the court and hit a three, but too much time elapsed. Jacksonville’s Precious Jeffrey took the inbound pass and covered up while the last two seconds ticked away, giving the Lady Red Devils the win. Five players scored for Jacksonville, who was led by Clark’s 15. Jeffrey and Crystal Washington added six each. Apple Sims scored five and Essica Walker added two points for Jacksonville.
Brandy Holder, Monica Williams and Allison Nelson didn’t score, but played important minutes, and made some key defensive stops. “Nelson went in and got us a key steal in the third quarter that helped us pull out to a little bit of a lead,” Ganey said.
Clark’s status was unknown Tuesday afternoon. She was scheduled to visit team trainer Jason Cates late yesterday afternoon.
The boys’ game started poorly when the Red Devils two starting post players got into foul trouble. That forced coach Roy Jackson to go small, and that created a disadvantage against a tall and deep War Eagle club.
It didn’t help that Jacksonville’s shots weren’t falling. All that resulted in the lop-sided final score. Jacksonville fell behind 8-3 right away, but still only trailed 27-20 at the end of three quarters. Fair’s depth took over in the final period as Jacksonville was forced to try to press against a well-rested bunch of Eagles. “They got about 15 deep and they’re all pretty good,” Jacksonville said of Fair. “Their second team is just as good as their first, and they were pretty tall with some really good guards. When we got in foul trouble and didn’t hit from outside, it made it tough. We played hard though and hung around until the very end. We just got tired. We’re going to strap it up and get ready for them to come here in a couple days.”
Fair pays a visit to Jacksonville Thursday night for a return match at the Devils’ Den.
Next Monday Jacksonville will travel to Little Rock Christian Academy to play a game that was originally scheduled for January 8. That date falls in LRCA’s mid-term week, so the game was recently re-scheduled for next Monday night at LRCA.