JHHS boys win first round Division IV playoff game

The 2022-23 prep hoops season continues for Jonesboro-Hodge as they advanced to the second round LHSAA Division IV boys basketball playoffs by upsetting Merryville 58 -39 this past Friday night. After dispatching the #14 seed on their home floor the 19th-seeded Tigers will now venture even further south to take on #3 seed Franklin in regional play on Tuesday, February 28th.

The district 8-2A champion, who drew a first-round bye, enters the contest with an 18-5 overall record against competition that was no lower than Class 2A, having lost only to two Class 5A schools, two Class 3A schools, and one district contest. The Tigers, who uncharacteristically finished 5th in the six-team district 3-2A, lost their final six games of the regular season to end with a 9-16 mark.

The main culprit of the disappointing season had been the inability to score but in the playoff opener, JHHS shot surprisingly well, especially in the second half and from the free throw line where the Tigers converted 19 of 23 charity shots. The defensive effort was also impressive as the 39 points allowed was the third lowest amount of points given up all year.

Zion Gray was especially sharp making 8 of 8 from the line to lead all JHHS scorers with 22 points. Ajay Tew and Savantez Phillips scored 13 and 8 points respectively and were also perfect from the charity stripe. Cameron Leonard also played a big role in the victory, contributing 8 points including a three pointer. Jarrious Lumpkin added four, Edward “Tre” Beard made a basket and Symeon Malone sank a free throw to round out the scoring.

Early on it looked like JHHS would suffer the same fate as had become the norm late in the season as the Tigers managed only 8 points in the first quarter and 7 in the second to enter the half trailing 19-15 against the district 5-A competitor.

The Tigers refused to let their season come to an end though by turning in one of their halves of the year as they dominated the third quarter by outscoring Merryville 20-4 and then tallied 23 points in the final frame, connecting on 10 of 11 free throws down the stretch.

TEAM 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
#19 JHHS (10-16) 8 7 20 23 58
#14 Merryville (19-15) 11 8 4 16 39
JHHS scoring: Gray 22, Tew 13, Phillips 8, Leonard 8, Lumpkin 4, Beard 2, Malone 1
Merryville scoring: Brown 14, Flemons 13, Hadnot 5, Robinson 3, Samuel 2, Powers 2

Quitman swamps Saline! Next up #1 Zwolle on Tuesday

In Saline’s last game before the first round playoff contest on Friday the Bobcats proved that it is hard to beat a team three times in a season when they bested Atlanta to win the district 2C championship. Apparently Quitman didn’t notice. 

The 16th seeded Wolverines had no trouble beating #17 Saline for their third win of the year over the Bobcats in four tries.  The 54-37 victory in the Division V opener sets up a regional round matchup with #1 Zwolle on Tuesday for the Wolverines who improved to 18-12. Saline ends the year with a 19-15 record. 

The two teams battled to a 8-8 tie in the first quarter then Quitman broke it open by outpointing the Bobcats 14-4 in the second in the contest played at the Jonesboro-Hodge High School gymnasium which has been the de facto home court for the Wolverines this year. 

Things got worse for Saline in the second half as Quitman extended the lead to 36-22 heading into the fourth period and then closed things out by taking the fourth period by a 18-15 margin to win  going away. 

Brayden Smith and Logan Ponder scored 11 each to lead a balanced attack that saw eight Wolverines tally. Blake Carter added nine followed by sharp shooters Eli Walker and Gavyn Caskey with seven each. Riley Duck ended with five and Grant Williams made a three pointer. Noah Leach hit a fourth quarter free throw to round out the scoring. Will Dison and Shawn Staggs closed out their high school career by scoring ten each for Saline  while DJ Rager-Ridley had six and Wesley Crawford added five. 

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