Leader Blues

Friday, December 12, 2008

SPORTS>> Lady Devils cruise past NP

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

The Jacksonville Lady Red Devils took advantage of their superior depth against cross-town rival North Pulaski on Tuesday night. The second five got as much playing time as the starters in a 61-39 win at the Devils’ Den.

The normal starters kept their seats at the start of the game, as Ciara Morant, Tyquia Robinson, Chyna Davis, Ebony Ghoshon and post Tanisha Cox took to the floor for the first quarter, and then proceeded to take it to the Lady Falcons.

It was the second win in two days for Jackson-ville, which advanced to the semifinal round of the John Stanton/Wampus Cat Invitational in Conway with an impressive 57-35 win over Alma.

“All of our starters saw a lot of time on Monday,” said Lady Red Devils coach Katrina Mimms. “So for Tuesday, we wanted the players that didn’t get much time to get in there.”

Ghoshon made the most of her start right away with two steals and two baskets in the first minute of the game. Her third lay-up missed, but Morant was there for the putback to give the Lady Red Devils a 6-0 lead just one minute into the game.

By the end of the period, Ghoshon had amassed eight of her team-high 14 points. Morant ended up with eight points, with nine for Robinson.

“They’re all coming around pretty well, it’s just been a slow process,” Mimms said. “Part of it has been not having much court time early on, but the other part of it was when we got the volleyball girls in, we had to go over so much so fast, it kind of bombarded them.

“Now we can start going slower and get them used to everything. When you start making a lot of changes all at once, they get confused. The ability is definitely there, we just have to get them ready for when our opponents change their strategy against us.”

The Lady Falcons got to face the Jacksonville starting five midway through the first quarter. Post player Rae Robinson kept North Pulaski close early on with a pair of inside baskets, with another from guard Quanita Hale. Hale went on to lead all scorers in the game with 20 points, including nine in the fourth quarter.

A Hale banker from 18 feet to start the second quarter pulled the Lady Falcons to 14-12. North Pulaski hung tough throughout the first half to trail by only four at the half, but Jacksonville slowly pulled away in the second half, changing out units every four minutes.

Meanwhile the Lady Falcons, only seven deep, had to struggle through limited substitutions.

Crystal Washington led the Lady Devil starters with eight points, while Apollonia Sims led all rebounders with nine. Tyra Terry and Sherice Randell each added five points.

The win improved Jacksonville’s record to 3-3.

With six games and a couple of tournaments under the Lady Devils’ belt, Mimms is pleased as far as defense is concerned, but wants to see more opportunities met on the offensive side.

“There’s always something to work on,” Mimms said. “You’re never completely satisfied, but we’ve seen some good things. I thought Tyra shot the ball really well against Alma, and Sherice and Apollonia both stepped up and shot well whenever they manned up on Tyra.

“We saw Crystal shoot better against North Pulaski, and hopefully that means she is back on track. We’ve been missing some of those quick, easy points she got for us a lot last year. She’s had some looks, but she’s struggled and missed some easy baskets. Lanier needs more points out of the post. Sometimes she’s real quick to pass it back out too fast instead of moving strong to the post.”

The Lady Red Devils continued tourney play in Conway last night after Leader deadlines against the host Lady Wampus Cats in the semifinal round.