SPORTS >> Wildcats size up, beat Red Devils in second round
Special to The Leader
WEST MEMPHIS — Watson Chapel’s size was just too much for Jacksonville.
Daniel Broughton, a burly 6-7 senior, scored a game-high 23 points and dominated under the basket as the Wildcats eliminated defending state champion Jacksonville from the Class 6A state tournament with a 67-57 quarterfinal victory.
“Down the stretch their size was too much for us,” Jacksonville coach Victor Joyner said. “If we’d had somebody to wrestle with their big boys it would have been a different game.”
Watson Chapel (25-3) chalked up the first victory by the 6A-South Conference over the East after four straight losses. The Wildcats will play in a semi-final game today for a third-straight season.
The Red Devils (12-15) had a tough go in the first half as Chapel held leading scorer Deshone McClure to only two points.
McClure scored a game-high 26 points in Jacksonville’s first-round victory over Pine Bluff.
“McClure’s tough to stop one-on-one,” Watson Chapel head coach Danny Myatt said. “We did a great job against him in the first half, but we knew there was only so much we could do the whole game.”
McClure ended up with 21 points to lead Jacksonville in scoring, but his heroics in the second half couldn’t pull the Red Devils back into contention, at least not for long.
After trailing by 12 points in the first half, Jacksonville rallied to within 29-25 at halftime. McClure opened the third quarter with a basket to make it a two-point game, but that’s as close as the Red Devils could get.
Watson Chapel answered with a 12-2 run and took a 41-32 lead with 3:18 left in the third quarter.
Broughton was unstoppable down the stretch. He scored 11 of his points in the final 12 minutes.
“He’s good, but we just don’t have anybody with any size that can match up with him,” Joyner said. “Some of the other teams we’ve played this year have the big guys that could have done a better job on him.”
After a McClure dunk cut Watson Chapel’s lead to 51-47 with 6:21 left, Watson Chapel put the Red Devils away with six straight points.
Raheem Appleby and Troy Green added 12 points apiece for Jacksonville while Justin McCleary scored 10. Watson Chapel also got eight points from Javon Barnes and seven from Kyle Piggy.
“We felt like coming into the game there was a little burden on us being the South champions,” Myatt said. “Our teams have taken a pretty good beating so far in this tournament, but we had the better conference two years ago when we had all four in the semifinals from the South. It just goes in cycles, and right now the East looks to be a little stronger than we are.”