Jonesboro outlasts Lady Devils
Hurricane defense limits West Memphis girls’ opportunities
WM School District JONESBORO — Jonesboro girls coach Jodi Christenberry hadn't broken out her team's 3-2 zone defense much this season, but it spelled the difference in her team's 4742 victory over the Lady Devils Tuesday night at Don Riggs Hurricane Gym.
The Lady Hurricane placed two quicks and a big out front in hopes of slowing down West Memphis sophomore Aryah Hazley, and in the first half it certainly did the trick. Hazley, averaging over 20 points per game this season, was held to just 3 points in the first half.
'We played a lot of 3-2 last year, but this year we've only played it when we've faced a really good guard out front,' said Christenberry. 'We really thought (the 3-2) would match (West Memphis) better than a man-to-man because we couldn't hold Hazley and guard the post at the same time.'
The Lady Devils (12-10 overall, 8-5 in the 6A/5A-3 Conference) played Jonesboro (17-5, 12-1) much tougher than in their 59-31 loss earlier in the season at Lehr Arena.
'It's disappointing, but I'm proud of our girls,' said 'We hung in there and had our chances to win the ball game.'
Although Hazley was slow to get going the Lady Devils found themselves down only 16-13 at halftime. WMHS hit only 5 of 23 shots from the field, but it defended well, holding Jonesboro to the same figures from the floor.
With the Lady Devils able to grab missed shots off the glass in the second half, it triggered some points in transition and also got Hazley on a hot streak. The smooth-shooting sophomore tallied 11 second-half points and dished for another two baskets.
'It really upset me how bad we played against (Jonesboro's) 3-2, because we've seen that this year,' said Burns. 'But we really got going in the second half.'
A layup by sophomore Jamee Gholson cut what was a 10-point Jonesboro lead (23-13) in the third quarter to 25-23 with 3:58 to play in the stanza.
And Jonesboro threatened to run away from West Memphis later in the fourth quarter, dialing up a 36-28 lead behind three straight baskets from its own star sophomore, Elauna Eaton, who led all scorers with 25 points. But the Lady Devils would not go away.
After junior Kenya Freeman fouled out with 4:26 to play in the contest, the Lady Devils made it a two-point game again (3836) after a Gholson threepointer with 4:05 left.
Then Hazley drained two free throws with 2:33 to play to keep it a one-possession game at 43-40.
But Jonesboro hit four free throws in the final 1:49 to seal the victory.
'We had opportunities all night to quit, but our girls didn't back down,' said Burns. 'I wish we had done a better job trying to set up (Hazley)…setting some screens. But other than that I can't complain.
The girls did a good job against a good team.'
Senior Tatyana Burks followed Hazley's 14 points with 10 of her own while Gholson pumped in 7.
Jonesboro also got 9 points from Brooklyn Dooley and 5 each from Shauna Mitchell and Kianna Hardaway.
The Lady Devils will play at home Friday night against Greene County Tech.
By Billy Woods