Hornets lose battle to Devils

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 6, 2008

SUNSHINE – Around this time last year, the John Essex High School&8217;s boy&8217;s basketball team was just coming off of a 2-win season.

Although this season&8217;s record isn&8217;t much better at 3-13, it is, somewhat better.

Coach Fentress Jones, despite being out for the majority of the season due to health reasons, has not only improved performance on his football team, but on his basketball team as well.

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As the Hornets took on the Red Devils of Maplesville Tuesday evening at Sunshine High School, it was obvious they were up against a better team.

The Devils&8217; average team height was a few inches higher than that of the Hornets but that didn&8217;t keep them from putting up a strong fight.

JEHS trailed the whole game, falling behind 10-15 at the end of the first period of play.

The Hornets were able to narrow the margin throughout the game, but it seemed like as soon as they were close to catching up, a penalty was called and the Devils gained their freedom back by means of free throws.

At the half, the Hornets were behind 18-25.

The second half was a neck-to-neck race to the finish. The Hornets came out of the locker room with a mission to win, but penalties and careless mistakes prevented that win.

Going into the fourth, the Hornets had MHS where the wanted them. JEHS trailed by only five and the crowd&8217;s momentum was in the Hornets&8217; favor.

With only 59.7 seconds to play, the score was down to 45-42, Devils&8217; favor.

A successful free throw by MHS advanced it to 46-42.

JEHS&8217;s Jack Rainey narrowed the margin to one point with 48 seconds left to play.

Means called his final time out of the game, which was immediately followed by a MHS free throw. With the score at 47-45, both teams were finished scoring for the night.

Jack Rainey led the Hornets in scoring with 15 points with Zac Fluker right behind him with 11.

In his first year as head coach, Means may not have had a phenomenal season record, but he can be sure of one thin far beyond points and numbers.