Stuttgart knocks off Jackrabbits in semifinals

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Lonoke’s Darian Young makes a move to the basket against Stuttgart. (Photo by Mark Buffalo)

MARIANNA — The Lonoke Jackrabbits came up short of making the finals of the 4A-2 district tournament with a 65-61 loss to Stuttgart in the semifinals last Thursday.

Lonoke led 50-46 after a 7-0 run, including a dunk by Blake Mack, with 6:20 left in the game. From there, Stuttgart rallied to lead 60-54 with 1:12 left.

Lonoke’s Jamel Rankin banked in a three-pointer with 1:04 left to make the score 60-57. Rankin then got a steal and was fouled with 57.6 seconds left. He made two free throws to cut the deficit to one at 60-59.

After a Stuttgart basket, Rankin hit two more free throws with 41.5 seconds left to make the score 62-61.

Stuttgart had trouble getting the ball over the halfcourt line and called a timeout with 33.7 seconds left. The Ricebirds again had trouble getting the ball inbounds and they called another timeout.

After a Lonoke foul, the Ricebirds missed a free throw with 22.8 seconds left. Lonoke could not take advantage, missing a short jumper a few seconds after.

Stuttgart then hit 1 of 2 free throws with 10.7 seconds left to make the score 63-61.

After a Lonoke timeout, the Jackrabbits set up for a final shot but Mack’s baseline jumper rimmed out as he was knocked to the floor. Lonoke then fouled Stuttgart, which made two free throws with 0.6 seconds left to ice the game.

Mack led Lonoke with 33 points. Rankin scored 17. Darius McCall had five. Scoring two each were Brenton Bryant, Darian Young and Cedric Cooney.

Lonoke will play Jonesboro Westside in the first round of the Class 4A East Region Tournament tonight at 5:30 at Clinton. If Lonoke wins, it will play Friday at 5:30 p.m. in the semifinals. The third-place game is Saturday at 1:30 p.m.; the finals are Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

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