The Lonoke Lady Jackrabbits are heading back to the regional tournament for the first time in three seasons after beating Clinton 44-26 in the first round of the 4A-2 district tournament Tuesday at Newport.
Lonoke had missed postseason play the previous two seasons after getting beat by Prairie Grove in the semifinals of the Class 4A state tournament in 2010.
"We had an upset last year that didn’t get us there with a couple of the kids on the current team that played last year," Lonoke coach Nathan Morris said. "I know they had to feel the disappointment. We’ve talked about it a lot during the year. We wanted to be there and I think it’s good that we’re taking a group of youngsters there and giving them a little fight in the regional tournament."
Morris said the most important thing right now is playing on semifinal night in the district tournament.
Lonoke will play Heber Springs tonight in the semifinals of the district tournament at 7 o’clock.
"Everybody is there," he said. "The other conference is going to be there scouting. It’s a good experience to know you are one of the four left and you’re going to get the chance to fight it out on one night."
If Lonoke beats Heber Springs, the district finals are Saturday at 6 p.m. at Newport.
In the win over Clinton, Lonoke led 9-5 after one quarter. Eboni Willis scored four points while Jarrelyn McCall and Kerasha Johnson had two points each. Amanda Sexton added a free throw.
Lonoke pushed the lead to 21-11 at halftime. Sexton scored six points in the second quarter while McCall had four.
Each team scored eight points in the third quarter as Lonoke led 29-19. The Lady Jackrabbits pulled away in the fourth quarter as Willis added eight points in the final eight minutes.
Willis led Lonoke with 12 points. McCall scored 11. Sexton added 10. Johnson scored seven. Jasalyn Truelove and Callie Whitfield added two points each.
Heber Springs 56, Lonoke 33
The Lonoke Lady Jackrabbits lost to Heber Springs 56-33 in the regular-season finale Friday.
Heber Springs led 18-8 after one quarter and 30-11 at halftime.
Eboni Willis led Lonoke with 13 points. Jarrelyn McCall, playing in her first high school game as a freshman, scored seven. Amanda Sexton added five. Callie Whitfield and Riely Rowton added three points each. Kerasha Johnson scored two.
The Lonoke Lady Jackrabbits will play in the Class 4A East Region tournament next week at Heber Springs High School.
If Lonoke win the district tournament, it will play in the first round of regionals at 4 p.m. on Wednesday. If they are fourth, the Lady Rabbits will play at 7 p.m. Wednesday. If Lonoke is second, they will play Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. If they are third, they will play Feb. 21 at 4 p.m.