All the ingredients needed for an upset of Class 5A Ruston was there. Jonesboro-Hodge out-rebounded the taller Bearcats, who sported a pair of 6’8” post players, held their leading scorer to just three points and was at the line twice with just seconds remaining with a chance to secure the win. The effort was there. The execution wasn’t.
As result 11-1, Ruston escaped with a thrilling 60-55 overtime victory this past Friday night that continued the best start in Bearcat history in recent memory. The heartbreaking loss dropped Jonesboro-Hodge to 3-4 on the year and riding a two game losing streak.Three times in the final 24 seconds the Tigers had the visitors, coached by Jackson Parish native Ryan Bond, on the ropes with chances to put the game away at the end of regulation but failed to deliver the knock-out blow each time.
First was when J-H went to the line with 23.3 seconds where two made free throws would have stretched the Tigers lead to four points. One was made which allowed Ruston’s Joshua Dean to tie it up with 6.8 seconds to play when his desperate, off-balance trey on the baseline found nothing but net. J-H also missed the front end of a one and one situation with 5.1 seconds left that most likely would have sealed a win and then after getting the ball back on a turnover with 3.3 seconds to play couldn’t control an inbounds pass sending the game into overtime.
In overtime Freshman sensation Jamadrion Lillard, who led Ruston in scoring with 19, drove for a basket and made a free throw to give Ruston a three point lead but J-H came right back to tie on a Javeon Andrews trey. After Ruston scored again the Tigers had three shots to either take the lead or tie but two three pointers and a layup went awry allowing Ruston to nail down the win when Dillon Wilson made a layup for a four point lead with just second remaining.
It looked like the Tigers would blow Ruston out of the gym as Malone and Calahan each hit a pair of trey’s to pace J-H to a surprising 20-9 lead. Ruston came back strong in the second behind 12 points from Lillard to take a 30-28 lead into the half and held a 43-41 lead after a sloppily played third quarter setting up the hectic final frame.
J-H made nine three pointers in the contest led by five from Malone who finished with a game high 20 points but suffered mightily at the line where they made only 8 of 18. Conversely Ruston had six trey’s and ended up with an 8 of 13 performance at the charity stripe.
The game also had an interesting side bar involving the two coaches. When Bond, who has over 260 coaching victories, most of them at Weston, squared off against Tew, who has won over 160 games while at Jonesboro-Hodge it marked the first time that a game was played where the coaches had that many combined victories earned in Jackson Parish.
JHHS (3-4) 20 8 13 11 3 – 55
RHS (11-1) 9 21 13 9 8 – 60
JHHS scoring: Malone 20, Calahan 10, Andrews 7, Nichols 5, Joe 4, Holden 4, McGuire 3
RHS scoring: Lillard 19, Thomas 14, Dean 12, Wilson 5, Pilgreen 5, Jones 3, Belton 2
Quitman holds D’Arbonne Woods to eleven points
When first year coach Quitman head coach Mike Black addressed his team at their initial practice this year he promised them that before the season ended they would be a very good defensive team. It hasn’t taken that long.
Already this year the Wolverines had forced a team into the lowest points total allowed in over two decades when they beat FCCS 67-14. They bested that this past Friday with a 41-11 thumping over Class 2A D’Arbonne Woods. This is not a misprint. Eleven points were all that was scored on only four made baskets and a free throw. WOW!
Offensively the Wolverines were led by 14 points from Cooper Williams, fresh off his heroics against Saline the Tuesday before (see below) and Josh Smith, who equaled D’Arbonne Woods total team output in the first two quarters before first Black started emptying his bench.
Quitman also got production from John Pabaya with six and L.D. Manning with four along with Blake Carter, Shane Rowe and Eli Walker who scored two each. With the victory Quitman improved to 7-3 while D’Arbonne Woods dropped their seventh in a row to fall to 1-8.
QHS (7-3) 10 18 7 6 -41
DWC (1-8) 5 3 2 1 – 11
QHS scoring: Williams 14, Smith 11, Pabaya 6, Manning 4, Carter 2, Rowe 2, Walker 2
DWC scoring: Godina 6, Davis 3, Roberson 2
Theriot sets new career scoring mark for Weston
When most of the upperclassmen quit the team over the Christmas holidays, Weston was left with only seven players of mostly inexperienced underclassmen that suddenly were thrust into the rotation. As expected growing pains are being experienced, like in the 66 – 61 loss to Kilbourne this past Friday, but as the old saying goes for every dark cloud there is a silver lining.
Were it not for the current situation, freshman Brandon Theriot may have not had the chance to prove his worth like he has over the last two games where he has led the Wolves in scoring with 19 and 18 establishing new career highs each game. Same goes for another freshman, Tate Henderson, who led Weston to a victory a few games ago by scoring a career high 18 and reached double figures again on Friday with 10 as did Kaden Shirley who chipped in with 10.
There has also been the resurgence of elder statesman Davis Tolar, who with more playing time is developing a deadly three point stroke that found the bottom of the nets three times on his way to 18 points. Eli McBride only scored four but did a great job in distributing that allowed Weston to have four players reach double figures. While the Wolves lost to fall to 6-11 on the year, the positive was that after allowing 8-2 Kilbourne to take a 36-23 lead into the half, Weston started to put it together to narrow the 13 point deficit to just five by games end.
WHS (6-11) 10 13 20 18 – 61
KHS (8-2) 16 20 16 15 – 66
WHS scoring: Theriot 19, Tolar 18, Henderson 10, Shirley 10, McBride 4
KHS scoring: Wilson 26, Schmitz 14
In additional games played this past Friday among schools in the Jackson Parish Journal’s newly expanded coverage area: Calvin beat Dodson 70 -54, Ouachita Christian slipped past Cedar Creek 43-40 and Choudrant got by Gibsland-Coleman 72-66.
Union Parish 66 Saline 51 (Thursday)
A coach will tell you there is no such thing as a moral victory but a statement was made nonetheless by Saline in the contest that was much closer than the final score indicated. For three and a half quarters Class B Saline gave Union Parish all they wanted before the only undefeated team in Class 3A used their impressive athleticism to pull away at the end .
“You always hate to lose but I think the effort the guys showed is something we can build on,” said Saline head coach Klint Robinson. “Got to give Union credit, they are a very athletic and a well-coached team.”
On the strength of a full court, ball hawking defensive effort and a run and gun, frantic offensive attack Union took a 30-19 at the half. Saline came out of the break to win the third quarter 22-13 to close the gap to two and then pulled even early in the fourth but Union’s athleticism won out in the end.
Ethan Roberts led the Bobcats with 19 points followed by Titus Jackson’s 13, which all came in the second half. Additional contributors were Titus Malone – 7, Blake Clifton – 4, Ryder Blanchard and Kenton Lee Crawford – 3 and Rafe Martin -2. With the loss Saline fell to 3-4 on the season.
SHS (3-4) 4 15 22 10 – 51
UHS (10-0) 7 23 13 23 – 66
SHS scoring: Roberts 19, Jackson 13, Malone 7, Clifton 4, Blanchard 3, Crawford 3, Martin 2
UHS scoring: Wallace 17, Walters 15, Harris 13, Holly 10, Conville 8, Gipson 4
Tuesday – Jan 5:
Tigers tie dubious school records in loss to Neville
Is it possible for a basketball goal to have a change in attitude? While that is obviously a silly question, it sure seemed like it this past Tuesday night in the Tigers 36-24 loss to Class 4A Neville. The baskets were receptive enough in the early going but from then on the rims got down-right nasty, refusing to let virtually anything come through them, especially for Jonesboro-Hodge.
Ed “Robbie” Kary scored all five of his points in the contest and Tydre Malone scored four of his team leading nine in the first quarter to give J-H an 11-8 lead. Neville bounced back with 14 points in second to take a 22-16 halftime lead then it got real ugly as the two teams COMBINED for only 22 second half points, with J-H getting only eight of those.
“It is hard to take when you give up only 36 points and lose,” said J-H head coach Allen Tew.
While the Tigers would just as soon forget about their performance it does have historical meaning as it tied a couple of school records, albeit, dubious ones. When J-H tallied only a pair of Cameron Joe free throws in the fourth quarter the Tigers tied one of those records that can never be broken of not scoring a single basket during a quarter. Another like record was also tied when the Tigers finished the game without a single player reaching double figures in points.
The paltry point total also goes down as the fewest the Tigers have scored in a game during head coach, Allen Tew’s twelve year reign. The previous low took place in 2014 in a 52-25 loss to Booker T. Washington out of Shreveport. With the loss J-H fell to 3-3 while Neville improved 7-4 on the year.
JHHS (3-3) 11 5 6 2 – 24
NHS (7-4) 8 14 5 9 – 36
JHHS scoring: Malone 9, Kary 5, Tew 4, Calahan 4, Joe 2
NHS scoring: Armstead 10, McCrarey 8, Keys 6, Arthur 5, Jones 5, Sledge 2
Depleted Weston suffering through growing pains
It was one of those happy but sad situations for Weston freshman Braden Theriot following Weston’s game against Castor this past Tuesday evening. Theriot was happy after scoring 18 points to set a new career high in scoring but sad that the Wolves fell 72-55 to former district rival Castor.
Eli McBride and Davis Tolar also had good nights for the Wolves scoring 16 and 11 respectively while Kaden Shirley added six and both C.J. Stewart and Tate Henderson scored two apiece to round out the scoring. The short-handed Wolves, who dressed only seven players for the second game in a row dropped to 6-10 on the year.
The victory was Castor’s first of the season after opening with five straight losses. Another first for the Tigers were having four players reaching double figures in scoring led by Jamarian Clark’s game high 26 points. Tate added 22 and both Gage Jordan and Austin Cooper had ten. Cade Young also scored four.
WHS (6-10) 13 14 10 18 – 55
CHS (1-5) 11 23 15 23 – 72
WHS scoring: Theriot 18, McBride 16, Tolar 11, Shirley 6, Stewart 2, Henderson 2
CHS scoring: Clark 26, Bates 22, Jordan 10, Cooper 10, Shirley 4
Williams heroics lift Quitman past Saline
Cooper Williams, who finished the contest with 11 points, hurt Saline in the first quarter by making a pair of three pointers but it wasn’t anything compared to the pain he dealt in the end with his third. It was the kind of scenario a player dreams about as with just a couple of ticks left on the clock Williams swished one in from behind the arc to break a 43-43 tie and give Quitman the narrow victory.
The victory stopped a two game slide and improved the Wolverines season record to 6-4 in Mike Black’s first year at the helm. Making up for lost time, Saline was playing for the second night in a row after getting in only four games over the first two months of the season due to Coronavirus complications at the school.
Saline took a 17-13 first quarter lead on the strength of two trey’s from Titus Jackson, who finished with 10 and seven of Titus Malone’s 11 points. The balance shifted in the second quarter in Quitman’s favor as the Wolverines had seven players make a shot, led by L.D. Manning’s three-pointer and allowed Saline only a Kenton Lee Crawford trey to give the Wolverines a 26-20 halftime lead.
Ethan Robert scored 9 of his 11 points in the second half and Ryder Blanchard hit a pair from behind the arc to help Saline rally. It was the nine points in the second half by Josh Smith, who finished with a game high 12 that kept Quitman ahead before Cooper, who scored 11, nailed the proverbial coffin shut.
Saline (3-3) 17 3 11 12 – 43
QHS (7-4) 13 13 10 10 – 46
SHS scoring: Roberts 11, Malone 11, Jackson 10, Blanchard 6, Crawford
QHS scoring: Smith 12, Williams 11, Everett 6, Carter 5, Ponder 4, Manning 3, Walker 3, Pabaya 2
Ruston beats Richwood in battle of native coaches
A win is a win! Gotta believe that is how Ruston head coach Ryan Bond felt after the Bearcats clawed their way to a 43-40 victory over Richwood this past Tuesday night despite suffering through one of their worst performances of the year.
For the second straight game Jonesboro native Rollin Belton, who recently committed to Marist College in New York, was a catalyst for the Bearcats. He was one of a precious few who actually had a good night finishing with 9 points and a team leading 11 rebounds. Freshman Jamadrion Lillard also came up big by scoring ten and grabbing 8 boards on the night where points were a premium.
While the play of the game wasn’t anything to write home about it did have an interesting local flavor to it. Bond and Richwood head coach Terry Martin represent two of the better players who ever graced the hardwoods in and around Jackson Parish while at Weston and Shady Grove respectively as well as being the last two from Jackson Parish to play professional basketball.
Additional area results: Simsboro beat Summerfield 79-21, Dodson gouged Georgetown 77-61, St. Fredericks beat Cedar Creek 43-37 in district 2-1A play and West Ouachita beat Choudrant.