Leader Blues

Friday, January 15, 2010

SPORTS >> Jacksonville fights off slow start, falls short against Hall

Leader sportswriter

Jacksonville’s second-half comeback at Little Rock Hall fell just short on Friday, as the Warriors held off the Red Devils 59-52 in 6A-East Conference play.

Jacksonville (5-8, 1-1) found itself facing a 25-point deficit in the first half but held Hall to only free throws in the third quarter to climb back into the game.

“The first half, I don’t even think my team got off the bus,” Red Devils coach Victor Joyner said. “We sat around and watched a good basketball game and got down by 25. There’s not much you can say about that first half, but we were able to come back in the third quarter.”

Hall (13-1, 1-0), seeking a measure of revenge for last year’s loss to Jacksonville in the 6A state finals, outscored the Red Devils 21-9 in the first quarter and 19-6 in the second for a 40-15 lead at halftime.

“The deal is, we’re a young team, and you have to know that in every conference game, you have got to come out competing from the jump ball and be mentally prepared,” Joyner said.

The Red Devils stepped up their defensive intensity in the third quarter and held the Warriors without a field goal and to only four free throws. That allowed Jacksonville, scoring 18 points of its own, to reduce the large deficit to a more manageable 44-33entering the final quarter.

But Hall was able to regroup for the last eight minutes, and while the Red Devils outscored the Warriors 19-15 in the fourth quarter, it was not enough.

Senior guard Deshone McClure led Jacksonville with 16 points. Rakeem Dickerson was the only Hall player to reach double figures with 12 points, while David Rivers and Myles Taylor each added nine.

“Hall is so much bigger than us,” Joyner said. “They go 6-10, 6-7, 6-5, while we go 6-2, 6-2, 6-3, so for them to battle back like that, you’ve got to look at it in a positive light that we’re a team that can compete.

“We just have to learn that you need to go four quarters. But we jumped some big hurdles, and we’re beginning to have something that we can hang our hats on.”

Hall played at Little Rock Parkview on Friday and will play at West Memphis on Tuesday.