The Lonoke Jackrabbits advanced to the finals of the 4A-2 district tournament with a 66-49 win over Southside Batesville in the semifinals Feb. 14 at Newport High School.
Lonoke came back two days later and dropped a 45-38 decision to Pine Bluff Dollarway in the championship game.
Both games were coached by assistant Heath Swiney. Head coach Dean Campbell was ill.
In the loss to Dollarway, Lonoke led 20-13 at halftime and 32-30 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Cardinals outscored Lonoke 14-6 in the final eight minutes to get the win.
Darrius McCall led Lonoke with 12 points. Blake Mack added 10. Darian Young scored six while Reid McKenzie scored four. Jamel Rankin and Zack Risner had two points each.
In the win over Southside, the game was close in the first half with the Jackrabbits leading 19-16 with 5:07 left in the second quarter. The Jackrabbits closed the half with a 7-2 run to lead 26-18.
Lonoke pushed the lead to 41-27 after three quarters. However, the Southerners would not go away, pulling to within seven at 56-49 with 1:52 left. From there, Lonoke put the game away with a 10-0 run to lead 66-49 with 56.9 seconds left. Mack scored six points while Rankin had four.
Rankin led Lonoke with 21 points. Mack added 17 points. McKenzie scored 11. McCall had seven. Scoring three each were Dra Offord and Young. Caleb Bracy, Risner and Dustyn Perkins scored two points each.
In the loss to Dollarway, Swiney said the shots that his team hit early weren’t falling in the second half.
"We were still getting great looks," he said. "We had good offensive possessions. They just didn’t go in."
Swiney said the way the Jackrabbits played the last two games shows maturity.
"Coach Campbell was out sick and you can’t ask for much more than for your kids to respond the way they did when their head coach isn’t there," Swiney said. "It’s different playing for the assistant. They played hard. They did everything we asked them to do. We just came up a little bit short."
Lonoke will play Pocahontas in the first round of the Class 4A East Region tournament tonight at Heber Springs. Game time is 8:30 p.m.
Swiney said he and Campbell are watching film and preparing the team they best they can for tonight’s matchup.
"They are a good team," Swiney said. "To me, there are a lot like Heber Springs. They shoot the ball really well. If they get going, it could be a long night."
If the Lonoke wins, it will play Friday at 8:30 p.m. against the winner of Gosnell and Southside. The third-place game is Saturday at 1:30 p.m. The championship game is Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
If Lonoke beats Pocahontas, it will qualify for the Class 4A state tournament at Cave City.
If the Jackrabbits win the regional, they will play Feb. 28 at 8:30 p.m. If they are second, they will play Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. If they are third, they will play Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. If they are fourth, they will play Feb. 28 at 2:30 p.m.