SPORTS >> Lonoke rallies by Bald Knob
By JASON KING
Lonoke senior guard Michael Nelson rebounded a missed Bald Knob free throw with two seconds left to help the Jackrabbits beat the Bulldogs 43-42 in a 2-4A Conference game at Lonoke on Friday.
Everything went Bald Knob’s way in the first half. But Lonoke held the Bulldogs scoreless in the third quarter to go from a 27-15 halftime deficit to a 32-27 lead heading into the fourth quarter to set up the thrilling finish.
Lonoke (6-4, 3-1) has won four straight games.
“We want to try and put as much pressure as we can in the second quarter,” Lonoke coach Dean Campbell said. “But I thought we gave them some open looks. We just came out in the third quarter and made up our mind to play half-court, man-to-man defense and be solid and defend. I’m proud of them.”
It was an offensive duel between post players. Bald Knob senior Trey Gavin led the Bulldogs with 17 points and made three, three-pointers, while center Chad Dixon led the Jackrabbits with 19 points, scoring eight in the pivotal third quarter.
But with Gavin’s physical play also came three first-half fouls, forcing him to sit out the entire third quarter.
“Trey is a very good player,” Campbell said. “He’s got a lot of confidence, especially out of football season. Several of those kids play football just like ours do. He really helps them go.
“Our guys did a good job of helping on team defense as opposed to just individual. Our guys really did take advantage when he was out.”
Lonoke’s fate without Dixon was similar. Bald Knob managed to take Dixon out of the mix in the second quarter after the junior post player had scored seven points in the first.
But the Jackrabbits reversed that in the third quarter by going to Dixon almost exclusively. Dixon scored 10 of Lonoke’s 16 third-quarter points to help the ’Rabbits reclaim the lead.
“We talked at halftime,” Campbell said. “And all I did was put up a picture of the court, put his number on the block and drew arrows from places on the floor for him. And I told them that when that happens, good things have happened.
“He played varsity last year, but he still needs to get more varsity minutes. It’s been up-and-down, and tonight, I thought he did a good job.”
Lonoke also got third-quarter help from Demarcus Dodson, who started the half with a floater in the lane to cut it to 27-17.
Nelson, the quarterback in football, then stepped up for his first points when he hit a free throw to make it 27-24 with 3:43 left in the quarter. Dixon made a pair of free throws and Tarrale Watson followed with a shot assisted by Dodson to make it 30-27.
The Jackrabbits snuck in two more points before the end of the quarter when Dixon hit a second put-back attempt for a 32-27 lead entering the final period.
Mike James added six points for Lonoke, while Watson, Dodson and Nelson finished with five each.
For Bald Knob, Nick Glaze added nine points.
“We’re still trying to figure out who we are – what each kid can do,” Campbell said. “They’re getting more comfortable together. We’re starting to gel a little bit.
“Kids are giving each other five on the free-throw line and encouraging each other. I think this group really likes each other, so that helps.”
Gavin dominated the inside and outside in the first half for Bald Knob. He made an inside shot off an assist from guard Seth Duncan to put the Bulldogs up 5-2 with 5:46 left in the first quarter and ended a 7-0 run by Dixon with a long three-point shot that cut Lonoke’s lead to 10-9 with 1:42 left.
Gavin added another seven points in the second quarter, including a three-pointer with 5:44 left to give the Bulldogs an 18-11 lead and a layup off a steal with 4:18 to play.