The Lonoke Jackrabbits used a fourth-quarter run to pull away from the Pulaski Robinson Senators for a 66-55 win in the season opener Tuesday at the Gina Cox Center.
Lonoke led 50-45 early in the fourth quarter then scored five in a row — all by Jamel Rankin— to lead 55-45.
The Senators cut the deficit to 55-49 with 2:55 left. However, Robinson senior guard Eli Jones was called for a foul on Lonoke’s Tykel Gray. He protested the call and was hit with a technical foul with 2:46 left.
Gray hit two free throws then Darrius McCall hit 1 of 2. That was the start of an 11-0 run, which gave the Jackrabbits a 66-49 lead with 1:08 left.
Gray continued the run with a layup. Blake Mack then hit a short jumper. McCall hit a runner in the lane before Mack got his third dunk of the game to account for the run.
Robinson scored the final six points of the game but couldn’t get any closer than 11.
“It’s going to be a roller coaster … it’s going to be up and down until we can get into a groove and try to get some things worked out,” Lonoke coach Dean Campbell said. “Early in the season, it seems like games are up and down. We’ll get that fixed.”
Campbell said his defense keyed the run.
“If we get defensive stops, it’s how you stretch things out,” he said. “It’s going to be a work in progress but our guys are 100 percent invested in what we’re doing and that makes it fun.”
Rankin led Lonoke with 21 points before leaving in the fourth quarter with a cramp in his left leg. Mack had 19 points. Gray added 14, including scoring the first Lonoke points in the Gina Cox Center.
McCall added nine. Darian Young had three.
Darrian Stokes led Robinson with 14 points.