Leader Blues

Thursday, January 17, 2008

SPORTS >> Lonoke boys, girls cruise on

Leader sportswriter

It was a conference road sweep for Lonoke on Friday at Heber Springs, when both Jackrabbit teams held on to their respective places atop the 2-4A standings. The ’Rabbits kept themselves in a three-way tie for first place with a 66-39 win over the Panthers, while the Lady Jackrabbits kept their league record perfect with a 41-31 decision over the Lady Panthers.

The Jackrabbits (15-5, 7-2 in league play) rushed out to a 19-9 lead over Heber (5-13, 2-6) in the finale, and allowed the Panthers to score in double digits in only one quarter.

Less than 40 points allowed may seem like a solid defensive effort, but Jackrabbits coach Wes Swift says it’s the unity, not the end result, that he would like to see improved.

“All five players should move whenever the ball goes to a different area on the court,” Swift said. “And we haven’t been doing that. I don’t feel like they are playing defense as a complete unit — whether it’s people not talking, or helping out on screens. There always seems to be one or two who are not in it. We need to be playing more as a unit as opposed to five individuals, where everybody helps everybody.”

Despite a strong third period for the Panthers, Lonoke was still able to carry a 49-32 lead into the final quarter.

Senior Tyrone Dobbins led the Jackrabbits with 24 points. Bradley Spencer added 10 points with a 3-for-3 performance from the three-point line. Junior guard Michael Howard also added 10 points for Lonoke.

Lonoke girls 41, Heber Springs 31

The Lady Jackrabbits made it nine conference wins in a row on Friday with a 41-31 win over Heber Springs. Hayley O’Cain led Lonoke (16-4, 9-0 Conference) with 14 points, 12 of which came on three pointers. Senior post Carrie Mitchell added 10 points for her first double-digit scoring effort of the season. The Lady Panthers put plenty of pressure on sophomore post Asiah Scribner, which allowed some easy looks for Mitchell on the weak side.

“She’s capable of hitting the 10- or 12-footers if we need her to,” Lady ’Rabbits coach Nathan Morris said. “But why do that when she can get an open shot right under the basket like that?”

Scribner’s shooting looks may have been somewhat limited, but she still contributed seven rebounds, six assists, five blocks, and four points.

The Lady ’Rabbit defense continued to look impressive. Strong defensive efforts resulted in big wins over Bald Knob and Stuttgart. Friday, Lonoke held HS standout Katlyn Mullins scoreless. Mullins, who averaged close to 14 points per game before Friday, could not find a way around Lonoke point guard Michaela Brown, who used her quickness to hold the Lady Panthers’ biggest scoring threat at bay.