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Slow start to Jackson basketball season

Photo by Rebecca Long

Photo by Rebecca Long

By Diane Glidewell

dglidewell@myjpa.com

The Jackson High School basketball teams -- boys and girls varsity and junior varsity -- are all still looking for their first wins.

It was a tough week for the Red Devils and Lady Devils as they lost against Drew, a new Clayton County high school, on Tuesday, against Eagles Landing on Friday, and against Stockbridge on Saturday, all three Region 4-AAA rivals. All three of the defeats came on Jackson's home court.

The JHS varsity girls team played in the Thanksgiving Tournament at Alcovy High School Nov. 26 and 27 and lost to Alcovy, 74-22, and to Paideia, 52-27.

The score for the JHS varsity boys against Drew High School was 56-46, but Head Coach Dary Myricks was not disappointed with the Red Devils.

"They played well, and played hard," said Myricks. "[The Drew team] is a talented group. Our defensive goal was to hold them to 50. They were a lot bigger and got the rebounds."

In the first quarter, Jackson trailed Drew by eight points, 14-6. In the second quarter, the margin narrowed to six points, 28-22, and at the end of the third quarter, the game was tied, 36-36. However, in the fourth quarter Drew was able to add 20 points, 10 of them from free throws, and JHS was able to add only 10 points.

"In the fourth, we didn't make free throws, and they did; they only missed two," explained Coach Myricks. "We didn't outshoot them when we needed to, but we played a good game. I am pleased with the way [the Devils] play and with the way they work. "

High scorers for the Drew game were Brandon Watson and LeErick Byrd, both with 11, Chez Goodrum with eight, and Dee Williams with seven.

Jackson's starting five against Eagle's Landing were Williams, Goodrum, Watson, Jay Phillips, and Byrd. At the end of the first quarter, the Red Devils were only down 13-10, with Byrd scoring five of those points, Ladarian Spivey sinking one three-pointer, and Watson adding two points. But Jackson was only able to add five points in the second quarter, while the Golden Eagles added 27 points, to make the score at half-time, 40-15.

Eagle's Landing High School

Jackson outscored Eagle's Landing in the third quarter, 13 points to 11, but that still left the Eagles with a large lead, 51-28. In the fourth quarter, the Devils added eight points, with Marcus Allen sinking baskets for six of them, but the Eagles scored another 16 points for a final victory of 67-36.

Stockbridge High School

The Red Devils were back on the court the next night to face another Henry County team, the Stockbridge High School Tigers. The teams seemed evenly matched as the first quarter ended, with Jackson having a one-point advantage, 14-13, and the second quarter buzzer sounded with the one-point lead having shifted to Stockbridge, 27-26. Eight of Stockbridge's points came from free throws in the first half, while Jackson picked up only one point from a free throw in the first two quarters. Byrd, Watson, and Allen all added points for the Red Devils.

The game remained close in the third quarter, with the Devils continuing to hustle and fight for possession of the ball. Byrd scored three two-point baskets, and then hit a three-pointer, which gave JHS a lead, 35-34. Goodrum managed a crowd-pleasing dunk that gave the Devils another lead, 37-35. Spivey (1), Phillips (2), and Allen (2) also added points for the Devils, but the Tigers had slipped ahead, 45-41, by the end of the third.

The Stockbridge team surged ahead at the beginning of the fourth quarter, and scarcely over a minute of playing time later, they had a 10-point lead, 51-41. The Devils continued to play hard, but they never closed that gap. In spite of scoring 16 points in the fourth quarter, the game ended in a loss for Jackson, 70-57. Goodrum hit four foul shots as well as one two-point basket in the fourth quarter; other scorers for Jackson were Watson (3), Byrd (4), Jeremiah Johnson (1), and Ricky McMichael (2). In finishing the game, the team missed Williams, who was injured with 39 seconds remaining in the first half, and Spivey who was hurt with a minute and a half left in the third quarter.

JHS Lady Devils

The Lady Devils lost to the Eagle's Landing girls varsity team, 56-12. The JHS boys junior varsity lost to Eagle's Landing, 49-38, and also lost against Stockbridge. The JHS girls junior varsity games against Eagle's Landing and Stockbridge were canceled.

The Lady Devils also were defeated by the Lady Tigers of Stockbridge, 43-25, but the Jackson coaches were pleased with improvement in play over the Eagle's Landing game. "They played better defense, better team ball," said Head Coach Corey Johnson. "All of the girls played well, and the freshmen got playing time."

"They were more motivated and they played more relaxed," said Assistant Coach Linda Sims. "There were more ball handlers and scorers on the floor."

Senior ShaRon Forte was the high scorer for the Stockbridge game with 11 points.

The Devils and Lady Devils will be on the road this weekend, playing at Sandy Creek High School on Friday, Dec. 10, and at Mary Persons High School on Saturday, Dec. 11. Play is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., on both evenings, with no junior varsity games. On Tuesday, Dec. 14, the Jackson boys play Alcovy at home. There will not be a girls game, but ninth-grade boys are to play at 4:30 p.m., with junior varsity and varsity games following.