Jonesboro strong in own tournament victory

JONESBORO — It’s a good thing for Jonesboro that it didn’t have its best performance at the Barry Pruitt Hurricane Classic on Thursday or Friday.

It saved that performance for Saturday.

Jonesboro was again overpowered on defense, scoring from multiple scorers to beat Fayetteville 51-39 and win the tournament title at Don Riggs High School.

Devarious Montgomery had 15 points and nine rebounds for the Golden Hurricane, who was solid for the first two days of the event but was suspended for the finals.

“The first half [Friday] and the first half [Saturday]He was strong defensively,” said Jonesboro coach Wes Swift. “We gave ourselves a cushion in both games. Offensively we faltered a bit in the second half but one of the hardest things is learning to play with an lead. … We will get better.”

Jonesboro (5-1) has never let up in championship play and a big reason for that has been his defense. The Golden Hurricane forced Fayetteville (6-1) to make 24 turnovers and held a crucial 30-20 lead on the rebound.

Both teams played to a 10-10 stalemate in the opening quarter, with both encountering problems. Jonesboro put Fayetteville in the bonus by committing nine fouls during the period while the Bulldogs turned him over nine times.

It wasn’t until the second quarter that things got really hot, especially for the Golden Hurricane.

A 12-footer from Isaac Harrell started a streak of 10 straight points for Jonesboro, which continued to force the Bulldogs to make mistakes but also prevailed on the glass.

The Golden Hurricane got numerous second chance opportunities and overtook the Bulldogs 12-4 in that eight-minute span.

“We weren’t disappointed in them,” Swift said, referring to his team’s rebound efforts. “Some of our halftime talks are always about the backboards, but I don’t even remember talking to them about it this time. And I thought Devarious was so active, the guy just wins.”

The errors were particularly problematic for Fayetteville because it denied the Bulldogs ever got into an offensive flow. The errors were so noticeable that the Bulldogs had more turnovers (15) than actual shot attempts (11) in the first half.

Fayetteville had just one field goal in game two — a slick up and down by Max Vollmer — and missed four of his six free-throw attempts, all resulting in a 31-14 deficit at halftime.

The Bulldogs took care of the ball while shooting better in the second half and made a serious push late in the third quarter.

Jonesboro’s lead swelled to 20 at 38-18 with 4:10 to go, but Jaiden Wilson scored nine points during an 11-4 sprint late in the period. Fayetteville was later able to narrow his deficit to single digits 47-39 with 2:04 remaining after Ornette Gaines’ free throw.

But Golden Hurricane guard Phillip Tillman, who scored 10 points in the game, hit a jumper on subsequent possession to quell the Bulldogs’ rally.

“I feel a lot better than I did last weekend,” Swift explained. “But I can’t wait to see a movie. If you play three games in a row you don’t really get a chance to see yourself, you just watch the next game’s movie. So I’m ready for this [today] take a little time and just watch us.”

Wilson led Fayetteville by 12 points. Gaines, who averaged nearly 30 points over the first two rounds, was limited to just seven points.

PINE BLUFF 77, NETTLETON 52

Jordon Harris controlled the inside with 21 points, 15 rebounds and 6 blocks as Pine Bluff (3-4) took charge late in the second quarter.

Nettleton (4-2) led 18-15 until the Zebras went on a 13-3 run. Pine Bluff increased his lead to 34-25 by the end of the half and continued to extend his advantage in the third and fourth quarters.

Austyn Dendy and Jabbar Spellman each scored 10 points, while Courtney Crutchfield and Braylen Hall each scored nine points for Pine Bluff.

Taylor Smith scored 24 points and Curtez Smith had 10 points for the Raiders.

OSCEOLA 51, BROOKLAND 47

Osceola (2-1) sprinted back from a 10-point deficit in the first quarter to beat its neighbors in northeast Arkansas in the fifth-place playoff.

Richard High scored nine of his ten points in the second half for the Seminoles, who watched Brookland (4-2) lead 13-3. Osceola responded by scoring 25 of the next 33 points to hold a 28-21 left through the end of the second quarter.

The Seminoles led as much as 46-33 early in the fourth quarter before the Bearcats took a 14-3 lead. Masen Woodall’s layup cut Osceola’s lead to 49-47 with 4.3 seconds remaining, but Jerry Long hit two free throws to put the game out of reach.

Woodall scored 18 points, Cole Kirby followed with 13 points for Brookland.

WEST MEMPHIS 48, GENTRY, MISS. 47

De’Cambren Holmes’ tip-in with 10 seconds left completed a win for West Memphis (2-7).

Kylanee Allen had 12 points, Cain White had 10 points and Holmes added nine points for the Blue Devils, who held 26-11 in the second quarter and didn’t lead until 2:03 into the game.

Gentry led 45-43, but Aiden Barber’s three-pointer with 1-01 left put West Memphis back in the lead. The Rams got a floater from Malik Cannon with 36 seconds before Holmes’ bucket won it for the Blue Devils.

Mahkeal Blackmon, whose potential shot for the winner missed the horn on the horn, had 12 points and 10 rebounds for Gentry (2-5). LaMichael Leavy had all 11 points in the first half while Cannon finished with 10 points.

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