SPORTS >>Red Devils win pair from North Pulaski
Jacksonville swept North Pulaski in a pair of ninth-grade River City conference games Monday night at the Devils Den. The Lady Red Devils routed the Lady Falcons 57-17 in the opener, and the Red Devils followed that with a 51-36 win over the Falcons to improve their season record to 3-2. The Red Devils took a commanding 32-12 lead at the half, but the Falcons stormed back in the second half and made a game of it.
“They came out in the second half and put some pressure on us,” Jacksonville coach Roy Jackson said. “I thought our guards played well down the stretch once they settled down. I’m proud of my kids, though. They weathered the storm and came back to put the game away.”
North Pulaski cut the lead to 48-36 with less than three minutes remaining, but they had to go to the outside from that point on. The Falcons had closed the gap on the Red Devils with strong inside shooting, but could not recreate the same success from beyond the arc. Deonta Swain added a pair of free throws in the final moments for Jacksonville, and Deshone McClure set the final margin with an inside jumper to seal the game for the Devils.
Swain got things started for Jacksonville with a three-point shot on the very first possession of the game. Veeders Nelson followed that with a pair of baskets to give the Red Devils a 7-0 lead by the 3:07 mark of the first quarter, prompting North Pulaski to take a timeout. Christian Knight finally got the Falcons on the board with an inside jumper, but Sherrod Williams answered for Jacksonville with a shot in the paint to put the Red Devils up 9-2.
Kyron Ware closed the gap for the Falcons with a basket and free throw, but Jacksonville went on a 6-0 run in the final minute of the quarter to extend the lead to 15-5. Knight brought the deficit back into single digits before the buzzer with a basket, but the Devils would extend their lead even more in the next frame.
Another 6-0 run for Jacksonville gave the Red Devils a 24-9 lead with 2:49 remaining in the first half. Nelson closed the half with back to back layups to give Jacksonville a 32-12 lead at the half. The Falcons came out with a much stiffer defense in the third quarter, holding the speedy Red Devils to only nine points in the frame. Michael Evans, Joseph Agee and Ware all found the basket for the Falcons, cutting the Devils’ lead to 41-24 heading into the final quarter.
The final period became a transition-fest, with both teams storming the length of the court for quick baskets. Swain and Nelson found the basket for Jacksonville, but the Falcons cut further into the lead with free throws from Agee and Ware, along with a jumper from Knight to make it 45-32. The Red Devils finally slowed the pace inside of two minutes remaining, denying NP a chance to rally any further.
Nelson led Jacksonville with 17 points. Ware led the Falcons with 13 points. The girls game was over before it started, as the Lady Red Devils marched out to a commanding 19-2 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. Repeated turnovers from the Lady Falcons in the first six minutes allowed several quick baskets for Jacksonville. Crystal Washington led Jacksonville with 20 points. Apple Simms and Essica Walker each added 10 points for the Lady Red Devils.