SPORTS >>Lady Rabbits top Sheridan in close game
By JASON KING
Leader sports writer
The Lonoke Lady Jackrabbits are 1-1 through the first two rounds of the RAPA Roundball tournament being held at Little Rock Hall. The Lady ‘Rabbits lost their opener to Park-view 54-47, but came back with a close 33-32 win over Sheridan on Thursday in a defensive struggle.
Lonoke held a solid lead against Sheridan until the final minutes, when a Lady ‘Jacket rally in the final two minutes took the game from a 10-point Lonoke lead to one-point lead with seven seconds remaining. A long shot from Sheridan at the buzzer fell short, and the Lady Jackrabbits escaped with the narrow win.
“That’s what happens when you have underclassmen along with seniors out there,” Lonoke coach Nathan Morris said. “Our bench is thin, our underclassmen played well. All of the players out there with the exception of a couple of seniors are inexperienced at the high school level. It’s going to be fun to watch them grow up in front of us.”
Freshmen Michaela Brown and Asiah Scribner have not looked timid on the court in their first two games as Lady Jackrabbit starters. In fact, after senior Calisha Kirk’s 12 points against Sheridan, Scribner was the next high scorer with 10 points.
Brown has already earned starting point guard honors as the team’s best ball handler, and has also proved vital defensively, with four steals and several re-bounds against Sheridan despite her small 5’5” frame.
The seniors have had mixed results in their first two games back this season. Calisha Kirk and Kristy Shinn struggled with turn-overs in Wednesday’s opener with Parkview, but bounced back on Thursday showing great leadership down the stretch in the win against Sheridan. Senior post Jenny Evans played well against Parkview until an ankle injury took her out of the game late. Evans had just recovered from an ankle injury in the past month. Morris says the injury is not severe, but they will take every precaution to make sure the vital senior does not return too soon.
“The X-rays are negative,” Morris said. “So we’re hoping for a quick recovery, but we don’t want to go too quick, because we have to have her on the court come conference time.”
Although it was a losing effort, the second half of the Parkview game has been the Lady Jack-rabbits most solid offensive performance as of yet. After a shaky first half, Kirk found the basket much easier in the final frame, scoring eight of her total 12 points in the last 16 minutes to keep Lonoke in the game.
Junior Hayley O’Cain has also proven herself as a threat from the outside. O’Cain hit 4 of 8 attempts from behind the arc against Parkview to lead the team with 14 points.
Kirk went on a five-point scoring spree with three minutes left against Sheridan to put Lonoke ahead 30-21, but the Lady Yellow-jackets didn’t give up. After only hitting one shot from the field in the entire first half, Sheridan improved on the floor in the second half.
A free throw from Brown with 23 seconds remaining proved to be the difference in the contest. A three pointer from M’Leah Lindsey pulled the Lady ‘Jackets to within a point of Lonoke, but it would be as close as they would come.
The Lady Jackrabbits will face Cabot at 3 p.m. today in the fifth-place game of the tournament.