Pre-Christmas schedule finds area boys hoop teams trending in different directions

When Jonesboro-Hodge played Southwood on Saturday it put the finishing touches on the pre-Christmas holiday season for the area preps schools covered by the Jackson Parish Journal. For most, they would like to see more games on the schedule over the holidays as they are playing their best ball. The others hope that the break will give them a chance to get the season moving in the right direction.

Jonesboro-Hodge, Quitman and Saline enter the break on an upward trend having combined to win six of the eight games played this past week. Weston lost two of three but there is no shame to falling to Calvin and Doyline, who have a combined 32-2 record. Then there is Dodson who has won only one of their first 20 games.

Here is a look back and ahead:

Jonesboro-Hodge: After downing a solid Lincoln Prep squad on Tuesday the Tigers split a pair against Class 5A completion in the Ruston tourney to finish the week with a 2-1 record that ran the overall slate to 6-2. On Thursday JHHS pushed past Parkway by a 54-52 margin after a furious fourth quarter rally fueled by 10 points from Devontae Mozee that helped Jonesboro-Hodge overcome a 42-34 fourth quarter deficit. The Tigers tried to rally again on Saturday against Southwood, who has the tallest player in north Louisiana, standing at 6’10”, but came up short 58-50. Optimism is high for JHHS who has yet to really have a chance to solidify their roster but has tremendous talent and potential.

Quitman: The Wolverines have been streaky all season. Being streaky can be a good thing. It can also be bad. Most of the time the streaks offset themselves which is the exact situation that Quitman faces as they enter the holiday break with a 10-10 record. The good news is they hit the break in action trending in upward fashion after thumping Castor 75-46 and Dodson 63-46 for their fourth straight win. To give an idea of how streaky Quitman has been so far, the Wolverines opened the season with a 5-2 slate that included wins in their first three contests. They then lost 8 of 9 before winning their last four. Hopefully the new year will bring more of the good Quitman and less of the bad.

Saline: After falling to Simsbor o, the #1 team in Class B on Tuesday, the Bobcats won the remaining two games in the week to improve their record to 8-12. In the “Battle of Bienville,” Saline beat parish foe Ringgold 49-35 and then followed that up by shooting down Choudrant 72-70. The win against the Aggies was especially impressive considering Choudrant had just given Calvin their first loss in 16 games and led Saline 42-32 at the half before the Bobcats stormed back with a 25-10 third quarter advantage to steal the win. The Bobcats have good talent and are a dangerous team when all the guys are working together. So far the problem has been just one or two seem to have a good game while others will be off. Hopefully the break will bring more consistency.

Weston: Ask head coach Jacob Otwell what he wants for Christmas and he will tell you he will be satisfied if he can just get a break. No, not the kind that the Wolves will embark on now that the pre-holiday season has drawn to a close but the kind of break that brings good fortune and good health with it. Early on it seemed like every game someone or several were out for one reason or the other. Then just as the team was getting back to full strength, senior Davis Tolar goes down with an injury. Finally in a scheduling quirk the team had ended the pre-Christmas season by playing two of the strongest teams in north Louisiana just when the Wolves were starting to gain momentum. Good health and a chance to have the guys play together for an extended period will do wonders.

Dodson: The season started with two losses against Calvin and another at Weston that was sandwiched with a victory over Kilbourne. Actually that would be what was expected but then when a couple of key players went down the season went off the tracks. Since the fourth game of the year Dodson has lost 15 in a row to head into the break with an area worst 1-19 slate. The good news is when the Panthers begin play again they should have their full compliment of players for the first time since the year began. Best to let 2021 go and think of the season beginning in 2022.

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