Jonesboro takes lead late, hangs on for 58-55 win


Shelby Foster

Junior guard Darryl Rice being guarded by junior Cardinal Jared Rogers. The duo of senior Nate Allison and junior Jamaine Mann combined for 30 points against Jonesboro, but it wasn’t enough as the Cardinals won 58-55.

Rilee Stapleton, Editor-in-Chief

The Starr’s Mill basketball team suffered their first region loss of the season at the hands of Jonesboro. The Cardinals narrowly trailed throughout most of the game, but they grabbed a lead in the final minutes and held on for a three point victory, 58-55.

“We came out like a team that was unsure,” head coach Charlemagne Gibbons said. “Teams that are unsure give up leads late.”

Shelby Foster
Head coach Charlemagne Gibbons makes adjustments during the game. Gibbons is now 10 games into his coaching career at the Mill, and the Panthers sit at 3-7. “We have some time to get some work in over the next month,” Gibbons said. “By the time we get to January, we’re gonna be a pretty good basketball team.”

Junior Jamaine Mann and senior Nate Allison were the bright spots for the Mill. Mann scored 15 points and collected six rebounds, while Allison added 15 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. The rest of the team struggled to score, and the whole team struggled with foul trouble. Jonesboro shot 21 free throws compared to the Mill’s seven.

Senior Dakota Leffew scored 20 points for the Cardinals, and senior Brandon Walker added another 11. Jonesboro shot a poor 29 percent from beyond the arc, but they made up for it by shooting 60 percent on twos. That efficiency and 13 points off of free throws helped them edge the Panthers for a crucial region win.

“We didn’t come out with enough fire in the first quarter,” Gibbons said. “We didn’t come out like a team that wanted to be 3-0 in the region.”

Jonesboro jumped out to a quick lead, but they didn’t hang onto it for long. Both teams fought on each end of the court, and the game remained close throughout the opening period. Starr’s Mill kept turning the ball over, but they made the Cardinals take tough shots. The quarter ended with the Panthers up 16-12.

Once again, the two teams played a close quarter. Like the first, Jonesboro forced turnovers and tried to convert on the fastbreak, and Starr’s Mill relied on Mann and Allison to hold on to their lead. The Panthers frequently ran post ups for the two, and they looked to get easy baskets in the paint. The Cardinal defense held on, however, and the halftime score was 29-26 in favor of the Mill.  

“It was a tough loss,” Allison said. “We were in the game until the fourth quarter. A couple mistakes lost us the game.”

By the third quarter, Mann was dealing with foul trouble and couldn’t play crucial minutes. However, Starr’s Mill managed to hold on to their lead and even outscore Jonesboro 15-13 in the quarter. Allison found easy looks at the rim and built on the Panther lead. The period ended with the Mill up 44-37.

Jonesboro experienced their best offensive quarter of the game in the fourth quarter. Fouls continued to hurt the Panthers, especially when Mann fouled out of the game. Jonesboro spent most of the period in the bonus, and their free throw shooting brought them back into the game. Leffew made eight of his nine attempts from the charity stripe against the Mill, and he played a crucial role in bringing them back.

I’m gonna blame myself [for the loss]…Some of the [fouls] shouldn’t have even happened in the first place.”

— junior Jamaine Mann

The Cardinals stole the lead late in the game, and Starr’s Mill self destructed after that. They turned the ball over multiple times and missed open looks that could’ve sent the game to overtime. Following the implosion from the Panthers, Jonesboro left the court with a 58-55 victory in hand.

“I’m gonna blame myself [for the loss],” Mann said. “Some of the [fouls] shouldn’t have even happened in the first place.”

Up next for Jonesboro is 7-3 Berkmar. The Patriots have been off to a hot start and will take on the Cardinals in the Tournament of Champions Showcase. The game is at 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 15 at Wheeler High School.

Starr’s Mill plays Holy Innocents Episcopal next in the Lakepoint Invitational. The Golden Bears are 2-6 this season, and both teams are searching for a win. The contest will take place at 5 p.m. on Dec. 15 at the Lakepoint Center.

The Panthers will compete in non-region games over the break as they participate in different tournaments and events. They resume region play on Jan. 8 at Fayette County.

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