Jackrabbits rally to win Goldfish Classic

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The Lonoke Jackrabbits beat Watson Chapel on Saturday to win the inaugural Goldfish Classic at the Gina Cox Center.
Lonoke’s Jawuan Bryant tries to take a charge of Watson Chapel’s Leonard Robinson during the first half Saturday night.

For the second night in a row, the Lonoke Jackrabbits got off to a slow start but rallied for a victory.

The Jackrabbits trailed 29-16 at halftime against Watson Chapel but rallied for a 54-48 win in the finals of the inaugural Goldfish Classic at the Gina Cox Center on Saturday night.

Lonoke (10-1) also trailed England 24-16 at halftime in the semifinals Friday night before rallying for the win.

“I was real proud of our guys in the way that they fought back,” Lonoke coach Dean Campbell said. “We could have very easily rolled over. With this group, it’s kind of good and bad. They act like they don’t know what the score is, which is good with a short memory so they can fight back.

“Our kids are still learning. We’re still trying to teach the game. Even though we’re a senior-heavy team, there are things we can always learn.”

The Jackrabbits outscored the Wildcats 19-7 to trailed 36-35 heading into the fourth quarter.

Lonoke took a 37-36 lead on a basket by Darius McCall with 6:48 left in the game. The Jackrabbits did not trail the rest of the game but the score was tied 46-46 following a three-point play by Watson Chapel’s Tevin Brown with 1:55 left. Lonoke reclaimed the lead at 48-46 on a drive to the basket by Jamel Rankin. Watson Chapel had a chance to take the lead when Datreon Lindsey was fouled while making a shot with 1:31 left but he missed the foul shot, leaving the score tied at 48-48.

Lonoke took the lead for good on a basket by Tykel Gray with a minute left. The Jackrabbits then hit four free throws in the final 23.8 seconds. Rankin and McCall hit two each.

McCall led Lonoke with 15 points. Blake Mack had 13. Rankin added 11. Gray finished with 10. Darian Young scored five. Brown led Watson Chapel with 13 points.

Campbell said his balanced scoring, like the Jackrabbits had against Watson Chapel, is one of the reasons his team is 10-1 this season.

“Tonight, we had four guys in double figures,” he said. “When we are balanced like that and continue to share the ball, positive things happen.”

Lonoke advanced to the title game with a 53-42 win over England on Friday.

After trailing 24-16 at halftime, Lonoke outscored the Lions 14-10 in the third quarter and 23-8 in the fourth quarter.

Mack led Lonoke with 13 points. McCall had 12. Young added 10. Gray and Rankin scored four each.

Lonoke opened the tournament with a 52-41 win over Des Arc.

The Eagles had practiced only once after most of the team playing in the state championship football game five days earlier.

Young led Lonoke with 16 points. McCall had 11. Gray added nine. Ced Cooney scored six. Yancy Cooney and Brandon Meek had four points each. Lucas McKenzie added two.

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