Leader Blues

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

SPORTS >>Jackrabbits win Beebe tourney with ease

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

The Jackrabbits served official notice who the favorite is in the 4A-2 this season during a 70-33 blowout over league rivals Newport in the championship game of the First Security/Gillam Farms Holiday Classic at Beebe High School. Newport’s only lead came on Edward Pruitt’s jumper to start the game; the rest was all Lonoke.

There was not a single game stat that did not sway heavily in the Jackrabbits’ favor. A 39-15 rebounding advantage for Lonoke was only part of the story, as Lonoke hit shots from nearly every spot on the court to completely dominate their stunned foes in what turned out to be one of the most lop-sided title games of the early season.
Lonoke coach Wes Swift was satisfied with the stellar win, but doesn’t count on history repeating itself next week when the two teams meet again.

“Check the papers next week,” Swift said. “I guarantee you that game won’t be decided by 37 points; it will probably go down to the wire. I liked our effort tonight. We kept the hammer down on them. When we came out and put up the first nine points of the second half I knew things would pretty much go our way.” Swift said the overall balance, which saw three Jackrabbits finish the game in double figures, made for one of their best performances all year.

“If we keep having performances like this, we’re going to steadily get better,” Swift said. “Beebe always puts on a good tournament with good teams. We played better and better as the weekend went on, but tonight was just a complete effort from everyone. This is without a doubt our most complete effort of the season.”

Senior Bradley Spencer and junior Michael Howard cut through the Greyhound defense from the inside out during the first half. Spencer got the ‘Rabbits their initial lead with a three pointer to start off Lonoke scoring, followed by another basket that made the score 5-2. From there, Howard closed out the frame with seven straight points that allowed the Jackrabbits to claim a 21-8 lead at the end of one.

Tyrone Dobbins got in the mix offensively in the second quarter. The senior scored seven of his total 10 points during the frame, further extending what was already a comfortable lead for Lonoke.

A basket for Newport at the 6:12 mark of the second quarter broke a 4:39 scoreless streak for the Greyhounds, in which Lonoke rolled off 14 unanswered points.

If the second quarter was shaky for Newport, the third quarter was absolutely devastating. The Jackrabbits not only continued their upscale offensive attack, but increased defensive pressure turned an already frustrated Greyhound team into a completely ineffective unit. A pair of Chavez Harris’ baskets were the only field goals for Newport in the entire eight minutes. In fact, Harris was the only Greyhound to score at all during the third quarter, adding a pair of free throws in the final minute for six points in an otherwise dreadful performance for the Greyhounds.

By the end of the third quarter, the Jackrabbits had more than enough points at 66-29 to play the final period with an uninteruppted clock. The starters took a seat in the final five minutes, as senior reserve Amir Fleming took out football frustrations out on Pruitt, Quarmaine Dean, and the remainder of Newport’s dual-sporters with some late drives to the basket.

Howard led all scorers for Lonoke with 18 points. Spencer added 11 points and Dobbins finished with 10 points. For Newport, Harris was the only scorer in double digits with 13 points. Lonoke freshman post Myles Taylor led in rebounding with eight boards. The 3-0 record for the Jackrabbits during the tournament lifted them to 12-4 on the season, and earned them the Holiday Classic title for 2007.