The Arkansas Leader

NLR ladies escape Hurricane

Charging Wildcats seize control in fourth quarter to earn third-straight win.

The North Little Rock ladies won their third-straight game on Tuesday, beating Jonesboro 52-47 at NLRHS after taking control in the fourth quarter of what had been a back-and-forth affair.
The game featured seven lead changes, despite the home team seeming to take control late in the second quarter.
The score was tied at 18 apiece halfway through the second quarter when the Charging Lady Wildcats made the game’s first big run. Sophomore Je´Mya Brown started it by getting to the rim for a 20-18 lead.
Senior Arin Freeman then made a 3-pointer before Jonesboro’s Bramyia Johnson answered to make it 23-20. Freeman then sank another 3-pointer before play was halted and North Little Rock was given a technical foul for a substitution infraction due to an incorrect scorebook.
But Jonesboro missed both technical free throws and then failed to score on the ensuing possession. Kalina Foster then hit a 3-pointer for a 29-20 lead before Jonesboro made 1 of 2 foul shots to send the game into intermission at 29-21.
The early part of the third quarter was all Hurricanes. Lakiya Scott started it with back-to-back 3-pointers that quickly made it a two-point game.
After a North Little Rock turnover, Ereauna Hardaway made a pair of free throws to tie it up. Another defensive stop led to a basket by Jonesboro post player Destiny Thomas to complete a 10-0 and put Jonesboro up 31-29 with 2:19 to go in the third quarter.
Jonesboro maintained that advantage and took a 35-33 lead into the fourth quarter. North Little Rock took the lead when post player Amauri Williams completed a 3-point play with 6:17 left.
Her free throw made it 38-36, but the Wildcats failed to get back on defense and Scott tied it up with a layup just 10 seconds later.
The two teams traded free throws before Foster put North Little Rock up for good with a 3-pointer with 4:09 remaining.
A small controversy followed when, after a timeout with 3:29 left and the score still 42-39, Foster was called for a foul in the backcourt with 3:16 to play.
That’s 13 seconds after Jonesboro threw the ball in under the Wildcat basket, and had not yet crossed midcourt.
Hardaway made both free throws to make it a one-point game, but Brown answered at the other end to start a 6-0 run that sealed the win for the home team.
After Brown’s shot with 2:50 to go, Hardaway missed the front end of a one-and-one trip to the line with 2:26 remaining.
Foster missed a 3-pointer, but Duckworth got the rebound and scored with 1:50 left. Williams then rebounded a Jonesboro miss and passed to Sakiya Hicks, who was fouled.
She missed both free throws, but Duckworth was there for another offensive rebound.
She passed to Hicks, who was fouled again. This time she made both free throws for a 48-41 lead with 55 seconds remaining.
Jonesboro had to begin fouling to stop the clock and get the ball back, but the Lady Wildcats made 6 of their last 7 free throws the secure the victory.
North Little Rock made eight 3-pointers in the first half and only two in the second after Jonesboro made a defensive change.
After struggling in the third quarter to adjust to the change, the Lady Wildcats began attacking the lanes and getting to the rim and free-throw line.
“It took us a little while but I thought once we realized we can do more than just shoot from outside, we handled it pretty well,” said North Little Rock coach Daryl Fimple. “I thought Je´Mya had her best game of the year.”
North Little Rock’s scoring was balanced. Freeman, Foster and Williams each scored nine points. Duckworth and Brown each had seven. Kyriana Jones scored six and Hicks posted five for the Lady Wildcats (7-4).
North Little Rock will open 6A-Central Conference play at home on Friday against Little Rock Central.

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