Leader Blues

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

SPORTS>> Falcons and Lady Devils fight hard, fall short

By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

The 17th annual Community Bank Red Devil Classic is in the books, and although no local team went home with a championship trophy, there were some positives that each team could take away. The Jacksonville ladies and North Pulaski boys each finished in fourth place, and got good efforts in their respective third-place losses. The Falcons were undersized and overmatched on the inside, but scrapped and clawed to make a game of their 65-56 loss to Memphis Overton. The brothers Cooper led the way offensively as NP was unable to get much done on the inside. Freshman Aaron Cooper led the way with 13 points while senior Quinn Cooper scored 11.

The Lady Devils were without leading scorer Tarneshia Scott who went down in Thursday’s second-round game, along with all the other players that were out before the tournament began, but played tough in a 58-38 loss to Little Rock Central.
The Lady Tigers had mercy ruled Jacksonville twice this season, but got a tougher scrap from the Lady Devils Friday. Jacksonville coach Katrina Mimms had to move center Marie Livings out into the open court for press break, which cost her some shots when the press was broken, but Mimms was more concerned with the overall effort of her team.

“We played hard against Central and we needed to do that,” Jacksonville coach Katrina Mimms said. “We had to bring Marie out of position a little bit to handle the pressure, but that took away a lot of her touches inside, usually because we had already shot it.” With Livings limited and Scott on the bench, the Lady Devils got a scoring lift from senior guard Marleka Bell. Bell finished with a team high 10 points. “That was good to get that from her,” Mimms said. “It’s always good to have as many scoring threats as possible.” Jacksonville will have its main one back by Friday when it hosts Marion to open conference play. It could also have last year’s starting point guard Morgan Waits back. She expects to be cleared on Thursday to return from the torn ACL she suffered over the summer.

The West Memphis Lady Blue Devils won the tournament without much trouble. After mercy ruling Ruston, La. in the first round, West Memphis beat Central by 20, and knocked off Helen-West Helena 70-45 in the championship game. The fifth-place game saw Ruston knock off Little Rock McClellan 44-38, while Melbourne beat Olive Branch in the eighth-place game.
To round out the boys half of the bracket, Hughes beat Little Rock Catholic 49-45 for fifth place, while Woodham, Fla. Defeated McClellan 54-46 for seventh place.