Defense key as Jonesboro eases past GCT

Greene County Tech’s Hunter Wilkerson (4) contests a shot by Jonesboro’s Jesse Washington during the first half of Friday night’s high school basketball game. Jonesboro won the game 50-35.

PARAGOULD — Jonesboro defended and rebounded well enough to win comfortably on a night when the Hurricane didn’t play its best offensively.

The Hurricane limited Greene County Tech to its lowest point total of the season in a 50-35 5A-East conference victory. Jonesboro held the Golden Eagles to 35.7 percent shooting from the field and built a 34-20 rebounding advantage.

“I thought we were solid on the defensive end,” Jonesboro coach Wes Swift said. “I thought we did a good job on the boards, a really good job, out-rebounded them 34-20 and only gave up three offensive boards. That was really good.

“On the offensive end, we never got going, never got into a rhythm, which is a credit to them defensively. We have to do a better job of moving the ball. I thought we had too many possessions where it was one or two passes before the shot went up.”

Jonesboro’s Keyln McBride scored 14 points while making 3-of-8 attempts from the 3-point line. Jesse Washington finished with nine points, while Amarion Wilson added eight points and three assists.

Devarius Montgomery and Kavon Pointer led the Hurricane (6-3, 2-0 conference) on the boards with 10 and eight rebounds, respectively. Pointer also added three assists and two steals.

The Hurricane finished at 37.3 percent from the field. While Jonesboro was 6-of-22 from the 3-point line, GCT (9-4, 1-2 conference) was only 2-of-15 and didn’t score beyond the arc until Jared Noel hit a 3 just before the end of the third quarter.

Kyler Morris led GCT with 10 points and Cache Burnett added eight.

McBride sank two 3s in the first quarter and the Hurricane scored the final five points of the period for a 12-6 lead. Jonesboro’s lead reached double digits in the second quarter, 22-12, on two free throws by Pointer.

Ryan Rouse scored five points later in the period and Jonesboro led by as many as 14 points before settling for a 28-16 halftime lead.

McBride connected again from the 3-point line as Jonesboro scored the first five points of the third quarter to lead 33-16. Noel’s 3 late in the third quarter brought the Eagles within 40-28 going to the fourth quarter.

Noel hit another 3 in the fourth quarter and Burnett scored to bring the Eagles within nine points, 42-33, with 6:38 left in the game. Washington scored a minute later and Jonesboro’s lead remained in double digits the rest of the game.

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