Leader Blues

Friday, January 16, 2009

SPORTS>>Jackrabbits drop third in last four

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

A difficult first half resulted in Lonoke’s third 2-4A Conference loss on Tuesday at Marianna. The Trojans outscored Lonoke 23-10 in the second period on their way to a 63-61 win.

Senior guard Clarence Harris picked up his second personal foul with two minutes left in the opening period, and played sparingly for the rest of the half. That, combined with a number of turnovers and rushed shots, let the game get away from the defending 4A state champions.

“Honestly, there were two major factors against us in that game,” said Lonoke coach Wes Swift. “The first one was that we did a poor job defensively of transitioning from our press to our half-court defense, and the second was that we settled for too many three-point shots in the second half.”

Michael Howard led the Jackrabbits with 19 points, with 15 points from Harris. Post man Pierre Smith added 14 points.
Marianna had four players finish with 13 points or better. Lonoke fell to 1-2 in the 2-4A Conference with the loss.

It was the third loss in the last four games for Lonoke. Swift said the past two weeks has seen his team somewhat going through the motions, and possibly looking too far ahead.

“We didn’t even practice yesterday, we just talked,” he said. “We had two writing assignments. We have six seniors, and they’re not used to doing anything but winning. When you come off a big championship season like what we had last year, you can fall into a trap. You can get to thinking of games this time of year as not that big, but you can develop bad habits in that time.”

With a red hot 4-1 Heber Springs team visiting last night for a game played after Leader deadlines, Swift hoped he had gotten his point across.

“What’s happening to us is kind of like what’s happening to (North Carolina University) on a smaller scale,” Swift said. “They’ve almost been bored with everything, we haven’t practiced well in the last couple of weeks. But I thought the meeting was productive. I told them that our success doesn’t depend on someone voting on whether or not we’re good enough to get in, we still have to play our way in.”

LONOKE GIRLS 62, MARIANNA 21

The Lady Jackrabbits wasted little time disposing of Marianna on Tuesday. They took a 48-12 lead at intermission and never looked back, led by a 21-point performance by Cara Neighbors. Junior guard Ashley Himstedt added 20 points for Lonoke.

The Lady Jackrabbits improved to 12-4 overall and 3-1 in the 2-4A Conference.