Leader Blues

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

SPORTS >>Memphis controls tempo, beats JHS

Leader sports editor

Jacksonville didn’t fare too well in its first voyage into Memphis territory last Friday night. The Red Devils lost 57-38 to Memphis Central, who boasted three Division I commitments. The good news was the 57 points allowed to a team that has averaged nearly 80 per game. The bad news was the 30 turnovers committed by the Red Devils and the season-low 38 points scored.

“It was more of the same thing as it was against North Pulaski,” Jacksonville coach Vic Joyner said. “We were too impatient and never got to our second and third options. Too many people were putting the ball on the floor and driving instead of running the offense and throwing it to the post.”

Jacksonville didn’t score a bucket from the field the entire first quarter, and trailed 14-1 at the end of one. The Red Devils calmed down in the second period and cut that deficit to 24-14 by halftime, and got within five points in the third quarter before falling back into old habits.

“We’re just inexperienced, especially at guard,” Joyner said. “When it got close and got real intense, we may have panicked a little bit. Actually we didn’t, we panicked a lot. We didn’t throw it in to the post the whole rest of the game, and I called six or seven different offenses designed to get the ball to the post.”

Memphis Central also got to the line frequently, and made the most of their opportunities. The hosts hit 33 of 38 foul shots to account for well over half their points. Jacksonville hit 12 of 18 free throws. “They play a real finesse type of ball over there where they just spread out and do a lot of one-on-one,” Joyner said. “There was no screening, no bodying up, just no real physical play. That’s the way we play period, and you could tell they (the officials) just weren’t used to that. We couldn’t even post up hard on offense without getting a foul. That made our post guys a little tentative and the guards couldn’t throw it to them. That played a role in it, but overall it was mostly our lack of experience. They were a pretty well-disciplined ball club on defense, and we were just too impatient.”

Kajuan Watson led Jacksonville with 12 points. He also did a good job defensively on Central star Randall Clayton, who averaged 25 points per game. Clayton scored just nine Friday night. “Defensively I thought we did an outstanding job,” Joyner said. “It was a stellar effort because that team has been putting some points on the board. We’re going to play hard on defense and hopefully that will get us some games, but we’re going to have to improve our guard play or it could turn into a tough season.”

The Red Devils got back to action last night in the first round of the Wampus Cat Invitational at Conway. Look for details of their game against Benton in Saturday’s edition of the Leader.