The Jacksonville Red Devils got their first really tough test for the first time in several games Tuesday night at Pulaski Academy.
The Devils were able to fend off the Bruins 68-65 in overtime, keeping Jacksonville perfect in the conference.
“Those boys shot the lights out,” said Jacksonville coach Victor Joyner. “I mean they hit everything, and most of it was contested with a hand in their face.”
Pulaski Academy made 13 three-pointers as a team, but missed their final attempt at the buzzer in overtime.
The Bruins forced overtime by getting fouled on a three-point attempt at the end of regulation. Chase Snider hit all three free throws with no time on the clock and nobody in the lane to send the game to overtime.
In overtime, the Bruins weren’t as hot from beyond the arc, while the Red Devils used points by Justin McCleary, Brandon Brockman and Sergio Berkley to take the win.
“That’s a big thing for these guys, to play an overtime game early in conference and come back to pull it out,” Joyner said. “Teams are going to be doing that against us. We’re going to get everyone’s best. They’re going to shoot their best against us and they’re going to rebound their hardest and we’ve got to be ready for that effort every night.”
The game was a different story from Friday night when Jacksonville took the long trip to Helena-West Helena and came back with a 78-51 victory.
“We didn’t shoot it well at PA, we took too many threes,” Joyner said. “But the kids showed a lot of resolve fighting through adversity. And there was a lot of adversity in that game.”
Jacksonville takes on an old foe Friday night when the Sylvan Hills Bears come to town. Jacksonville and Sylvan Hills have shared conferences many times over the years, but haven’t seen each other the last two seasons.
“I’m not really sure what they’re going to try and do Friday,” said Joyner. “We haven’t played them in a while, so we kind of have to feel our way through these games.”