Falcons state-bound after beating Ricebirds
Pulaski boys turn in exciting win over Stuttgart
BY RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor
___The North Pulaski Falcons
won both games of a Friday night double-header at North Pulaski against
the Stuttgart Ricebirds.
___ In boys action, the Falcons rallied late,
turning a somewhat close game into a blowout going away 66-49. In the
girls matchup, the Lady Falcons beat the Lady Ricebirds 68-59.
___ Lincola Sanders pulled down 10 rebounds
for NP, as LaKeyshia Ridgeway led the Falcons in scoring with 16 points.
Marie Livings also had a great night for North Pulaski, scoring 14 points
of her own.
___ The game was a fairly close one up until
the 4th quarter, when the Falcons went on a scoring run to start the quarter.
Stuttgart had an opportunity to get back in the game late, as top rebounder
Sanders, Porcha Hayes, and starter Trista Cox all fouled out of the game
midway through the final period.
___ The Lady Ricebirds did not execute, looking
sluggish and tired despite several substitutions throughout the game.
Despite their taller lineup, the Ricebirds could not contain junior Ridgeway,
as she created turnovers that converted into points late, and went 6 for
12 from the free throw line on the night. In the boys game, it was the
Steven Moore show on the free-throw line, racking up 27 points on the
night including a pair of three pointers.
___ "We got into foul trouble early and had
to go to a zone defense," North Pulaski head coach Victor Joyner said
afterward. "We haven't used a zone defense all year, so that hurt us.
We went back to man to man in the fourth and turned up the tempo, so we
could beat them down late. Coach Joyner was also quick to point out the
great performance from Moore on the night.
___ "We just kept the ball in Steven's hands
at the end. He went 15 for 16 at the line, so if they were going to foul
somebody, they were going to have to foul him."
___ The Falcons started the game off with
a 7-0 run early. Stuttgart clawed their way back from the early deposit
to make the game 19-15 at the end of the first quarter. The second quarter
got off to a slow start, with no points put on the board from either team
for almost the first two minutes of the quarter.
___ By halftime, Stutt-gart had pulled even
closer, making the score 27-26 North Pulaski. The Falcons started the
2nd half with a barrage of 3 pointers. Moore and Rodric Rainey caught
all net on back to back threes to give NP back the advantage. The Ricebirds
would make another run in the 4th, pulling to within 2 points of North
Pulaski, but foul trouble would let the game slip out of their hands.
___ Moore's repeated trips to the line late
chalked up much of the Falcons points in the 4th quarter. NP's return
to man to man defense also seemed to frustrate Stuttgart. The Ricebirds
dominated under the boards all night, but gave up several second and third
shots late to help the Falcons pull away. Though it was Moore who put
on a great show all night, with 40 seconds remaining it was Al Smith who
gave the fans the most exciting single moment of the night.
___ On a fast break, senior Scotty Hardfield
bounced the ball off the glass, Smith followed behind him with a thunderous
dunk that caused the stands to explode with cheers. Smith's slam capped
off the night for the Falcons, with a final score of 66-49. Smith and
Hardfield both had 10 points on the night for North Pulaski. The Falcons
closed the regular season last night against White Hall. A Lady Falcon
win in that game could give them the No. 3 seed in the tournament if Stuttgart
suffers an upset loss to Mills University Studies. The North Pulaski boys
would lock up the two seed with a win Tuesday.
post 29-7 rally to beat J-town
BY RAY BENTON
___Sylvan Hills senior James
Jackson went baseline around his man for a big dunk, and it was all
Bears from there as Sylvan Hills pummeled Jonesboro 29-7 in the fourth
quarter to beat the Hurricane 73-65 to keep its playoff hopes alive.
___ Jonesboro led 58-44 at the end of the
third quarter and held a 60-48 advantage when Jackson's baseline jam
ignited the Bears. "They switched on me and put a five guarding me,"
Jackson said. "I knew I was faster than him and I knew I could take
the baseline on him and I knew I was going to dunk it."
___ The Bears then got two consecutive
turnovers before Jonesboro could cross halfcourt and converted them
into three points. That cut the lead to 60-53 before Jonesboro called
timeout with 4:50 left in the game.
___ The timeout did little to thwart the
Bears' momentum. Sylvan Hills scored the next nine points after the
break to take a 62-60 lead and forced another Jonesboro timeout with
3:29 left in the game.
___ Jonesboro's Ryan Williams broke the
Bears' 18-2 run with a short jumper to tie the game at 62-62, but Sylvan
Hills' junior Michael Gross scored the Bears' next five points, including
a clutch three pointer that gave his team a 67-63 lead. After a Jonesboro
miss, senior point guard Kaming Kareem hit a double-pump layup in traffic
for a 69-63 advantage with 1:32 left in the game.
___ Williams cut it to 69-65 with 1:02
left in the game, but it was the last points Jonesboro would score.
Kareem scored with 24 seconds left, and added two free throws with seven-tenths
of a second showing on he clock to set the final margin.
___ All five Sylvan Hills starters scored
in double figures, plus reserve Darren Caradine, who posted 10 points.
Caradine was not on the floor for the big fourth-quarter run, but his
eight first-half points were huge for the Bears, who were struggling
to keep the game close. Gross led the Bears with 15 while Jackson added
14. Kevin Hubbard and Hezekiah Smith scored 11 each while Kareem added
10. Caradine and Gross scored eight apiece in the first half while Jackson
___ Kareem, Smith and Hubbard scored all
of their points in the second half of the game. The Jonesboro ladies
drilled the Lady Bears in the first game of the night 75-43. The Lady
Hurricane dominated every facet of the game, but none as much as the
boards, where Jonesboro finished with 37 rebounds to just 15 for Sylvan
Hills. Sylvan Hills Crystal Maxwell led all scorers with 16 points,
while Kierra Johnson added 10 for the Lady Bears. Tayla Haskins led
Jonesboro with 15 points and Rachel Allison scored 10. Jordan Coleman
had eight points, nine rebounds, four steals and four assists for Jonesboro.
Sylvan Hills hosted Forrest City last night after Leader deadlines.
___ The Bears were locked in a four-way
tie for second place heading into the game. Sylvan Hills, Forrest City,
Jonesboro and Searcy all had 8-5 records as of Friday night, but it's
the Bears who will be left out of the playoff picture with a loss Tuesday.
___ Sylvan Hills is on the short end of
the tiebreaker with Jonesboro and Searcy, and must beat Forrest City
to make it to the state tournament next week at Camden-Fairview.
open with victory
baseball team edges past Badgers
__North Pulaski opened its
baseball season with a win Monday, beating the Beebe Badgers on the
road 8-5. The Fal-cons held an 8-2 advantage heading into the final
inning before Beebe made it very interesting with a late rally.
__ Beebe catcher Trey Watson was hit by
a pitch to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning.
__ Todd Watson reached on the first of
two errors at first base in the half inning. Justin Meyers singled and
scored Trey Watson before Eric Holland flew out to right field.
__ Adam Hodges grounded out to leave the
Badgers with one out to work with. Sean Robertson then doubled to right-centerfield
to score Todd Watson and Meyers, and Jared Mathis reached on the second
error at first.
__ North Pulaski was finally able to thwart
the comeback attempt on a great play by centerfielder Walt Winer. Beebe's
Kaleb Crowell hit a deep fly ball to straightaway center, but Winer
got a great leap on the contact, ran the ball down and made the catch
to end the game.
__ "He had to get on his horse to chase
that one down and it was a great play," NP assistant coach Travis Lyda
said. "It was starting to get a little hairy, but we made a play when
we needed to and got the win."
__ The Falcons scored the first four runs
of the game, but only three of them should have counted. In the top
of the second inning, Walt Winer's run was counted by the home plate
umpire, even though Winer ran squarely into the back of the Beebe third
baseman, who was looking straight up and waiting on a pop-up by Mitchell
Regnas to come down in foul territory. Winer ran into the fielder in
foul territory and the ball landed next to him.
__ Not only was it runner interference,
it wasn't a fair ball, but the run was counted, much to the chagrin
of Beebe coach Andy O'Mara. The inning ended on the same play when Shawon
Hand was caught in a rundown after the ball was picked up. O'Mara vehemently
argued the call for several minutes after the inning ended.
__ The correct call would not have changed
the outcome of the game, since only one run was scored and the Falcons
won by three. The first run of the inning came on an RBI single by Josh
Mansfield, which scored Andre Peters, who had reached on a fielder's
choice. Winer was hit by a pitch and Jeremy Mogish walked to load the
bases before Regnas pop-up that caused the controversy.
__ The Falcons other big inning was the
sixth. Mansfield led off by walking. Winer singled and Mogish moved
the runners with a bunt single to load the bases.
__ Regnas walked to drive in Mansfield
and Brandon Clements singled to drive in Winer and Mogish. Scott Bolin
added the Falcons final run in the seventh inning. Two batters after
Bolin walked, Winer singled him in to give the Falcons an 8-2 lead.
Winer, Mogish and Regnas were all 2 for 3 in the game.