Titans survive Patriots' rally

RUSSELLVILLE -- Jacksonville Coach Victor Joyner was relieved after his team held on to defeat Marion 54-53 on Saturday in the Class 5A boys state tournament semifinals at Cyclone Arena.

Detrick Reeves, who scored a game-high 30 points for Marion, had an opportunity to win the game for the defending Class 5A state champions. But his jumper did not fall as time expired, and the Titans advanced to the Class 5A state championship, where they'll face West Memphis on Saturday at Bank OZK Arena in Hot Springs.

"You're at his mercy," Joyner said of Reeves. "It's Detrick's show. We came up and knew he was going to drive it. We collapsed all five guys and let the chips fall where they may. He had to lean and couldn't go straight up and line up the shot vertically.

"He got an open look, but we made him lean."

Jacksonville (20-5) shot 20 of 34 from the floor. Davonte Davis, a University of Arkansas signee, led the Titans with 21 points and five rebounds. Christian Moore scored 13 points, while Ryan Maxwell had 12 points.

Joyner's team had a 51-36 lead with 5:38 remaining, but the Patriots weren't done.

The Patriots (16-14) embarked on a 14-0 run, capped by Reeves' three-point play to pull his team within 51-50 with 3:14 remaining. Jacksonville had five turnovers during the run.

Maxwell's layup with 2:33 left to play curbed Marion's momentum and gave Jacksonville a 53-50 advantage.

But Marion cut the lead to 53-52 with 2:00 left to play on Reeves' two free throws.

Davis hit one of two free throws to make it 54-52 with 1:05 remaining.

It was 54-53 Jacksonville with 28 seconds remaining when Davis drove and hit a jumper, but the basket was waved off because of a traveling call.

After Reeves missed a layup for Marion, Jacksonville turned the ball over with 6.3 seconds left to play, leading to the Patriots' final shot.

Marion Coach David Clark said he was pleased with how the Patriots were able to get back into Saturday's game and push the Titans to the brink.

"We played three games in three nights," said Clark, whose team shot 16 of 41 from the floor. "To put up the same performance was tough to do. But they woke up in the second half and started playing fast. We came back, but it wasn't enough to seal the deal."


Behind 17 points and 15 rebounds from Auburn University signee Chris Moore, West Memphis defeated Maumelle.

West Memphis (26-4), the 5A-East champions, advanced to their second state championship game in three seasons. The Blue Devils last made it to Hot Springs in 2018 when they lost to Jonesboro in Class 6A.

Marcus Brown is in his third season as West Memphis' coach after taking over for Larry Bray. Brown -- who played for the Blue Devils, Murray State and in Europe -- said one of his goals when he was hired was to get the program back among the state's best.

"We've been fortunate enough to have some great kids come along to do that," Brown said. "The program is back where it belongs. It's in the conversation. Hopefully, we'll be cutting the nets down."

Jordan Mitchell scored 14 points and Jalon Lewis added 12 points as the Blue Devils went 18 of 32 from the floor.

Maumelle (22-8), the 5A-Central Conference's No. 2 seed, struggled from the floor, shooting 17 of 52 overall and 2 of 15 from three-point range. Nico Davillier led the Hornets with 12 points, while Courtney Lawrence had 11 points.

"Their defense forced us to shoot the worst we've probably shot all year," Maumelle Coach Michael Shook said. "That's a credit to them. They're really physical."

Trey Flowers made a layup late in the third quarter to pull Maumelle within 38-27, but West Memphis extended the lead to 14 points, 41-27, at the end of the quarter as Kyalan Sykes hit a three-pointer at the buzzer.

West Memphis led by at least 10 points the rest of the game. Mitchell's slam dunk with 5:48 remaining made it 46-32.

Sports on 03/08/2020