|The Lonoke Jackrabbits hold the championship trophy of the Goldfish Classic after beating Stuttgart in the championship game Saturday night. (Photos by Mark Buffalo)|
By Mark Buffalo
LONOKE — The Lonoke Jackrabbits completed a three-game sweep of the sixth-annual Goldfish Classic at the Gina Cox Center.
Lonoke beat Malvern 71-69 in the first round, England 83-66 in the semifinals then beat Stuttgart 70-57 in the championship game Saturday night.
|Lonoke's Isaiah Thomas battles for the ball with|
England's Tyler Woods in the semifinals.
“We had a good win at Wynne before Christmas,” Lonoke coach Dean Campbell said. “I told them it wasn’t just these three days. It started on Dec. 21. Then we came in on Dec. 26 and got some things done. We’ve grown defensively. Hopefully, we can grown and figure out that what we do defensively carries over to the offensive end. It gets us in a flow and gets us going. It gets us in a mindset to attack.
“I thought we did that this weekend. We’ve worked for it. We had a very good weekend.”
Lonoke is now 8-5 overall but they have a 1-3 mark in conference play with losses to Mills, EStem and Stuttgart.
The top four teams in the conference advance to the regional tournament. For the first time in recent years, Lonoke will not play a conference tournament.
“We have nine schools … the southwest conference has seven,” Campbell said. “Five out of our conference stays home. Three out of theirs stay home. It doesn’t seem right. I don’t understand some of the geographical positioning, especially, when a team like Joe T. Robinson, who everybody in the southwest conference is their football opponents, but they are in our basketball conference.
“It is what is. Every night is a battle. There are no nights off in the conference.”
In the win over Stuttgart, Lonoke and Stuttgart were tied at 12-12 after one quarter. The Jackrabbits outscored the Ricebirds 17-7 in the second quarter to lead 29-19 at halftime.
Tyriqe Jackson led Lonoke with 27 points, including three thunderous dunks. Tony Bryant had 24 points. Nick Tate had 10. Isaiah Thomas had 9.
In the win over England, Tony Bryant had 29 points. Jackson had 20. Chase Bryant scored six. Braidon Bryant had five. Tim Hunter had four. Tate scored three. L.J. Williams and Christian Thompson had two points each.
Against Malvern, Jackson led Lonoke with 38 points. Tate had nine. Braidon Bryant had seven. Tony Bryant scored six. Chase Bryant had five. Thomas scored four. Hunter had two.