PINE BLUFF — Some late offense and good defense throughout propelled the Jacksonville Lady Red Devils to a 47-33 win over the Morrilton Lady Devil Dogs in the opening round of the Class 5A State Tournament in Pine Bluff.
Neither team burned up the nets, but Jacksonville did have two good quarters in the second and fourth.
“I tried to tell them that this is not a shooter’s gym. That it can throw off your depth perception when you’re not used to it,” said Jacksonville coach Katrina Mimms. “Bt when the other team is playing off and daring you to shoot those long shots, its hard not to.”
The Pine Bluff Convention Center has stand-alone goals in the middle of the arena, something most high school teams are not accustomed to.
The Lady Red Devils’ defense didn’t help out Morrilton’s offensive struggles either. From the closing minute of the first half until past midway through the fourth quarter, the Lady Dogs were held to just two points on a single field goal.
Much of that was done without using a full press that Jacksonville excels at.
“We kind of know we have that press in our back pocket to use when we need to,” Mimms said. “We’ve worked hard on our man to man, but they see a lot of that in their league, so we went with a zone.”
Morrilton’s only lead came in the game’s opening minute, but they also refused to go away for three quarters.
Jacksonville led 9-7 after the first quarter and 24-20 at halftime. While Jacksonville held Morrilton to just two points in the third quarter, they only scored six themselves.
Shakyla Hill cut loose in the fourth quarter, scoring eight of her 14 points. Jessica Jackson led the Lady Devils with 15 points.
“When teams start keying on Jessica like that, it really opens up the lane for Shakyla to do what she does,” said Mimms.
Jackson began the fourth with a three pointer, followed by a pair of slashing baskets by Hill.
The win moves Jacksonville to 22-4 on the season as they await the winner of Camden Fairview and Greene County Tech for a second round showdown Friday at 4 p.m.