SPORTS >> Devils win seventh straight
Special to The Leader
Searcy had Jacksonville’s full attention this time around.
The Red Devils scored the first seven points of the game on the way to a 16-3 run and a 63-37 win over the Lions on Friday night at the Devils’ Den.
“We were in this position last year where we were playing well and went up there and they knocked us off,” Jacksonville coach Victor Joyner said. “One of the kids brought that up before the game. They didn’t want that to happen again.”
Jacksonville improved to 15-3 overall and 8-1 in the 6A-East with the win.
Matt Barkley hit a pair of threes early in the second quarter to give Searcy some life. Laquinton Miles answered with back-to-back three-pointers as Jacksonville scored the last seven points of the half to take a 32-15 lead into halftime. Miles led all scorers with 15 points.
Jacksonville let Searcy know they weren’t going to let up by completing a 12-0 run with five quick points to begin the third quarter.
The first of those baskets came on an off-the-backboard dunk by Antwan Lockhart.
Searcy was able to pull as close as 16 points midway through the fourth quarter before Jacksonville went on a 9-0 run to take away any thoughts of a Lion comeback.
Inexperience and a lack of size hurt the Lions against the top-ranked Red Devils. Searcy starts four sophomores and a junior compared to Jacksonville upperclassmen-laden squad. The size disparity was evident as Jacksonville out rebounded Searcy 38-16.
“Searcy is a well-coached team, they’re just young,” Joyner said. “They’re an athletic bunch, but the way the offense is spread around helped us get some rebounds.”
The Red Devils spread the scoring evenly with Miles leading the way with 15 points, while DeShone McClure and Demetrious Harris both scored 13 points. Antwon Lockhart led the Devils with eight rebounds and added nine points. Harris and Miles each pulled down six rebounds.
Jacksonville will be at home this week to take on Jonesboro and Marion as the Red Devils try to stay on top of the conference.
“The second half of the conference schedule is so hard,” said Joyner. “The other teams all have tape on us now. Now we’re also the team that everyone will be gunning for. We can’t overlook anyone.”
SEARCY GIRLS 64,
JACKSONVILLE 63 OT
The Jacksonville Lady Devils came up just short in their bid to upset the Searcy Lady Lions Friday night in Jacksonville.
Jacksonville fell 64-63 in overtime, showing great improvement over recent performances.
“We missed a lot of chances against Parkview,” Jacksonville coach Katrina Mimms said. “Tonight we were able to find an offensive spark.”
Jacksonville found itself down 47-34 after a 10-0 run by Searcy that began in the third quarter and lasted until the 6:33 mark of the fourth.
Tyra Terry broke the run with a three-pointer from the corner that brought the Lady Devils back to life.
The Lady Red Devils kept closing the gap with baskets from Apollonia Sims, Jessica Lanier and Sherice Randell.
Jacksonville wasn’t able to pull even with Searcy until the final seconds. After a basket by Randell made the score 57-55, Searcy’s Kristen Celsor was fouled and left an opening for the Devils by making just one of two free throws.
Cierra Morant came through for Jacksonville with a deep three-pointer that tied the game 58-58 with four seconds left to play.
Searcy wasn’t able to get off a clean shot as the game went into overtime.
Celsor came out and immediately gave the Lady Lions the lead with a lay-up. Searcy made two free throws over the next two minutes, while Tyquia Robinson made a pair of baskets to tie the game 62-62 with less than 30 seconds remaining.
Jacksonville still had a chance after Searcy retook the lead with just over 10 seconds left to play.
Morant was fouled and went to the line for Jacksonville with six seconds remaining in the game. The first shot was good, but the second free throw rimmed out as time expired on the Lady Devils.
“I thought we just played better on offense and defense,” said Mimms. “The biggest thing is that we shot the ball a lot better and played with a lot of heart.”
Randell led Jacksonville with 17 points, while Lanier had 16. Sims scored 10 points and Terry added 8. Searcy’s Celsor led all scorers with 26 points, while Lauren Harrison added 18 points for the Lady Lions.