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Lady Rabbits end season with loss to Farmington

Lonoke’s Ashlyn Allen defends against Star City’s Larena Walker during the first round of the Class 4A state tournament last week at the Gina Cox Center. (Photo by Mark Buffalo)Buy Photo
Lonoke’s Ashlyn Allen defends against Star City’s Larena Walker during the first round of the Class 4A state tournament last week at the Gina Cox Center. (Photo by Mark Buffalo)
Star City’s Linsdey Kiernan and Lonoke’s Amanda Sexton fight for a loose ball in the first half of Thursday’s Class 4A state tournament game at the Gina Cox Center in Lonoke. (Photo by Mark Buffalo/Lonoke Democrat)Buy Photo
Star City’s Linsdey Kiernan and Lonoke’s Amanda Sexton fight for a loose ball in the first half of Thursday’s Class 4A state tournament game at the Gina Cox Center in Lonoke. (Photo by Mark Buffalo/Lonoke Democrat)

The Lonoke Lady Jackrabbits completed their best season since 2010 by going 1-1 in the Class 4A state tournament at the Gina Cox Center.

Lonoke (24-9) knocked off rival Star City 52-44 in the first round March 7 then lost to Farmington 70-66 in the quarterfinals. The Lady Jackrabbits had not played in the state tournament since losing to Prairie Grove in the Class 4A semifinals at Highland in 2010.

Against Farmington, Lonoke led 42-38 early in the second half but the Lady Cardinals used a 9-0 run to lead 47-42 with 1:37 left in the third quarter and 51-46 heading into the fourth quarter.

Lonoke stayed with Farmington and trailed four to six points most of the final eight minutes. However, Lonoke got to within three at 69-66 with seven seconds left on a basket by Kerasha Johnson. The Lady Jackrabbits fouled Farmington’s Tayton Hopkins, who missed two free throws. Lonoke then turned the ball over with three seconds left and fouled Hopkins with 1.6 seconds left. She iced the game by hitting one free throw.

“We had a chance against a really good basketball team,” Lonoke coach Nathan Morris said. “A couple of things here, spoonful of this and a dash of that, we’re in that game. We had a great crowd, a lot of support from the people.”

Morris said his team was playing its best basketball the last four weeks of the season.

“That is all you can ask,” he said. “You know, 24 wins, a district title and playing two games in March, win one of them — that’s top notch for some schools. For us, we want to keep doing that.

“We’re very happy with the way we played the whole season. Just wish last night [Farmington] had turned out a little bit different. We played hard, we played well and we didn’t give up in front of our home crowd.”

Jarrelyn McCall led Lonoke with 21 points. Eboni Willis scored 15. Amanda Sexton added 11. Johnson had six. Kimistri Ballance and Callie Whitfield scored five points each while Ashlyn Allen added three.

In the win over Star City, Lonoke trailed 33-32 early in the fourth quarter. A basket by McCall and two free throws by Willis gave the Lady Jackrabbits a 36-33 lead.

Star City kept it close, trailing 42-38 with 3:27 left in the game. Lonoke then scored six in a row to lead 48-38 with 1:37 left.

McCall led Lonoke with 21 points. Whitfield had nine. Johnson had eight. Scoring seven each were Sexton and Willis.

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