Keiunna Walker led all scorers with 31 points Friday when Lonoke’s Lady Jackrabbits visited Central Arkansas Christian, but the top-ranked Lady Mustangs held on for their second eight-point win in the series.
CAC improved to 23-1 after the 59-51 victory.
“Keiunna had a good night, and in the second half Mia (Brown) hit some shots and Arius (McClain) got going a little bit,” Lonoke coach Heath Swiney said Sunday. “Kennedy (White) rebounded the ball well. But I thought we had some defensive collapses that we had really talked about and worked on, and that’s the stuff we have to get better at.”
Lonoke was 18-6 heading into Tuesday’s game with Episcopal Collegiate.
After Walker put Lonoke up 2-0, the Lady Mustangs reeled off 10 straight, including eight consecutive by freshman Bethany Dillard. Christyn Williams’ trey made it 19-10; Walker scored two of her 12 first-quarter points to pull Lonoke within 19-12.
“I felt like the first quarter kind of got us,” Swiney said. “The first two possessions, we miss two layups. We didn’t miss very many, but we could’ve been up 4-0.”
As Williams heated up with all nine of CAC’s second-quarter points, the Lady Mustangs built a 28-19 lead, but Kennedy White and Walker combined for Lonoke’s final five points to make the difference at the break 28-24.
CAC led by 32-27 with 6:08 left in the third quarter before a half-court scrum left Lonoke’s Mickenzie Williams motionless on the floor. After more than a 30-minute delay, paramedics took her away on a body board. She was later diagnosed with a concussion and whiplash and was released from the hospital later that evening.
“She had the ball and was dribbling, and it got loose and Christyn went after it,” Swiney said Sunday. “Her head hit the ground. She’s probably out at least until Friday, but they X-rayed her neck and back, and there was no damage.
“I am proud of the way the kids responded after all that happened. You never know how they’re going to respond with a teammate laying there.”
Dillard, Williams and Madyson Bowman combined to lift CAC by 43-32, but the Lady Jackrabbits pulled within 43-35 on Mia Brown’s second straight 3 with 20 seconds left in the third quarter.
Williams’ trey from the right wing gave CAC a double-digit lead, 46-35, with 7:23 left, and Jenna Davis’ three-point play made it 52-39 a couple of minutes later. Davis’ wide-open bucket lifted the Lady Mustangs by 57-44 with 2:45 left, but Lonoke finished with a 7-2 run to make the final margin eight.
“I felt like even late in the game, we went up and got some big stops and some big rebounds,” Swiney said. “One time we were down five and ended up walking — nobody’s around us. We’d get a rebound and turn it over, stuff like that.
“We got the rebound, which is something we hadn’t been able to do, but we found another way to turn it over. Now the next time we get it, we’ve got to go down and finish.”
Williams led CAC with 24 points. Dillard added 18 and Davis 12.
“I thought we did a pretty good job on Christyn, but that freshman — I told the kids she could shoot it,” Swiney said. “I thought she was really the difference in the ball game.”
Mayflower will visit the Gina Cox Center for Senior Night on Friday. The Lady Eagles opened the week 2-16, including a 50-24 loss to Lonoke on Jan. 2.
“Senior Night is always an emotional night, so you never know how that’s going to go,” Swiney said.
The Lady Rabbits will finish the regular season against eStem on Tuesday, Feb. 6. The game is scheduled for Philander Smith College. The Lady Mets opened the week 15-3 overall and ranked third in Class 4A. They prevailed in the first meeting, 46-39.
“eStem is long and athletic and quick,” Swiney said. “They give us some real match-up problems. They are pretty big on the inside. If CAC beats them (Tuesday), that game will be for second in our conference.”
Also last week, the Lady Rabbits beat Baptist Prep, 49-20, the day they returned to school after the water issue caused school to be closed for several days.
“You could tell we hadn’t been in a routine,” Swiney said. “It was good to get there.”
The 2-4A District Tournament will be at Riverview in two weeks. The Lady Jackrabbits must win their first-round game to advance to regional play.