WM School District JONESBORO –Jonesboro kept up its mastery over the West Memphis boys, beating the Blue Devils for the eighth straight time, 60-30 here Tuesday night.
Little went right for the Blue Devils (9-8 overall, 22 in the 7A/6A-East Conference). Their turnovers for the night equaled their number of shot attempts, at 25. And although they hit a decent percentage in connecting on 12 of their attempts (48 percent), Jonesboro scored a whopping 37 points off the miscues.
'That was the ball game,' West Memphis head coach Larry Bray said of his team's turnover rate. 'You gotta take care of the ball. We were just throwing the ball away. I don't know if it was just one of those nights or (Jonesboro) played real well.'
Jonesboro (13-2, 4-0) got off to a slow start, but once the shots started falling in the second quarter, the Hurricane built a mountain of momentum the rest of the way.
After hitting on only 3 of 10 shots from the floor in falling behind West Memphis 12-10 after the first quarter, the Hurricane hit 20 of its last 34 attempts for the floor for a .588 percentage, including a 5 of 11 showing from beyond the three-point arc.
Nine of West Memphis' 12 first-half turnovers came in the second quarter.
'I saw the looks on our faces after we committed a turnover,' said Bray. 'Our shoulders slumped and we got down on ourselves and from there it just snowballed on us.' The Blue Devils didn't help themselves at the freethrow line, hitting on a paltry 2 of 13 from the charity stripe.
'I haven't been saying anything to (the players) about free throws, but tonight we just couldn't hit them,' Bray added. 'You can't win shooting that poorly from the free-throw line.'
Jonesboro head coach Wes Swift pressed West Memphis for a solid three quarters without letting up and it got to the point where the Blue Devils had trouble advancing the ball across the half-court line.
'They always like to press,' Bray noted. 'It wasn't anything we didn't expect.'
Jonesboro also dominated the glass, outrebounding West Memphis 23-11.
Guard Desi Sills led the Jonesboro onslaught with 12 points while the hosts got 11 points off the bench from guard Ben Harvey.
West Memphis' only consistent scorer all night was senior Robert Harris, who tallied 10 points while junior Tevin Mosley scored five and senior guard Ahmere Albert chipped in four.
Despite the loss, the Blue Devils still have a 1-0 record in 7A-East play and they have a chance to build on their state tournament resume when they host Little Rock Central on Friday night at Lehr Arena.
By Billy Woods