Jonesboro proved too strong and quick against an out-manned Manila team as the second seeded Golden Hurricanes blew their way past the unseeded Lions 81-48 Tuesday in the quarter-finals of the 3A-4A-5A division of the 59th annual Northeast Arkansas Invitational Tournament at the Convocation Center in Jonesboro.
Jonesboro used a tenacious full court press, forcing numerous Manila turnovers as the Hurricane roared their way to an early lead against the smaller Lions. Jonesboro closed the first period with a 21-9 lead and stretched their advantage to 27 points by the half as they held a 48-21 lead going into the dressing room. Jonesboro scored the second quarter's first 12 points to erase any doubt of the game's outcome.
The Hurricane continued their domination in the third quarter by opening with a 10-0 run highlighted by a pair of slam dunks by 6'4" junior Jeremy Thomas. Thomas was among three Golden Hurricane to hit double figures with 12 points. LaDustin Williams led Jonesboro with 14 points while 6'3" senior guard Matt Garner knocked down 11 more. Jonesboro shot 55 percent from the field and manhandled the Lions on the boards, holding a 31-13 advantage, including a whopping 17-1 on the offensive boards.
Manila, which was plagued with 23 turnovers, shot a respectable 17-32 from the field while bombing home seven treys, six of which came from Cody Wells, who led the Lions with 21 points. Jackey Parker tacked on nine more for Manila while Kyle Misner added five.
"Jonesboro was big and physical," said Manila Coach Jeral Hudspeth. "They have more depth and kept running kids in and out. We are just not very big. They have a lot of firepower and are very quick. I was a little disappointed that we didn't do a better job of controlling the clock with our offense. But Jonesboro is a very good team."
The Lions will return to the court Tuesday, Jan. 3, when they travel south to Trumann to play the Wildcats.