Monday, February 23, 2015

Lady Rabbits win 2 games in district tourney, qualify for regional

Lonoke's Amanda Sexton shoots for 2 against Heber Springs in the old LHS gymnasium. (Photos by Mark Buffalo)

By Mark Buffalo
Staff Writer

LONOKE — It took some work but the Lonoke Lady Jackrabbits are headed back to postseason play. 
Lonoke (15-13) won its first two games of the 4A-2 district tournament to qualify for the Class 4A East Region tournament, which starts Wednesday at Trumann High School.
Lonoke beat Helena-West Helena Central in the first round of the tournament but needed an extra day and some old school medicine to make the regional.
Because of last week's inclement weather, tournament officials decided to play both the quarterfinals and semifinals of the district tournament Saturday, using both the Gina Cox Center and the old LHS gymnasium.
Lonoke then beat Heber Springs 67-46 in the old gym Saturday afternoon. The Lady Jackrabbits then lost to Riverview 57-35 in the Gina Cox Center on Saturday night.
In the win over Heber Springs, Lonoke led 16-8 after one quarter and 36-21 at halftime. 
The Lady Jackrabbits pushed the lead to 46-27 following a 3-pointer by Kerasha Johnson and two free throws by Jarrelyn McCall. Heber Springs tried to keep it close, cutting the deficit to 49-36 . Lonoke then outscored Heber Springs 4-1 the rest of the quarter. Johnson scored on a steal and layup and Riely Rowton was fouled as time expired. She hit both free throws.
Amanda Sexton led Lonoke with 17 points. Eboni Willis scored 16. Johnson had 14. McCall added 10. Keiunna Walker and Ashlyn Allen had 4 points each. Rowton had 2.
Lonoke's win over Heber Springs was its first game in the old LHS gymnasium since the Lady Jackrabbits beat Newport 48-38 in February 2013. 
"I love the Gina Cox Center and wouldn't trade it for the world but it felt good to win another in the old gym today," Lonoke coach Nathan Morris said. 
After beating Heber Springs, the Lady Jackrabbits had a few hours off before facing conference champion Riverview in the semifinals.
Lonoke scored the first four points of the game — all by McCall but fatigue set in as Riverview led 12-6 after one quarter and 35-18 at halftime.
McCall led Lonoke with 12 points. Johnson scored 7. Willis had 6. Walker scored 4. Callie Whitfield, Allen and Sexton had 2 points each.
Lonoke will play Pocahontas in the first round of the Class 4A-East Region tournament Thursday at 4 p.m. at Trumann High School. 
The Lady Jackrabbits opened the district tournament with a 60-30 win over West Helena on Wednesday. 
McCall led Lonoke with 22 points. Johnson had 17. Willis 10. Walker scored 5. Whitfield added 2.

Lonoke's Riely Rowton takes the ball away from a Riverview player while Eboni Willis guards. 

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