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JACKSONVILLE BASKETBALL | Rings for the thing for devilish champions

The Jacksonville Red Devils and Lady Red Devils basketball teams celebrated their state championships one more time during their ring ceremony at Southern Oaks Country Club.

The girls and boys each won the Class 5A state championship back in early March, leading to a series of award banquets and a parade through downtown Jacksonville.

“These kids deserve everything they’re getting as hard as they worked,” said Jacksonville coach Victor Joyner. “Especially the seniors, they won’t forget this year.”

Both the Devils and Lady Devils were expected to be factors in the state championship picture this past season, and neither disappointed. The boys finished the season 26-4 overall and 13-1 as the 5A Central champs. The Devils lone conference loss was an upset at Mills. The other losses were two to North Little Rock and one against Jonesboro. North Little Rock was the Class 7A title, while Jonesboro was one of the top three 6A programs in the state.

The boys jumped ahead of the Alma Airedales in the state title game, and then held on against the hot shooting team for a 56-53 win.

For the Lady Devils, this season was one Jacksonville had been building toward since University of Arkansas signee Jessica Jackson stepped on the court as a freshman.

The Lady Devils wrapped up their season with a 25-4 record, and were the undefeated conference champs at 14-0.

“I’m so proud of all that these girls have accomplished,” said Lady Devil coach Katrina Mimms. “It was really kind of a dream come true. The expression on those faces when they got their rings and wore them to school. It was like those ‘priceless’ commercials. It was priceless. You can’t really describe it.”

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