By Anthony Rhoads
The old adage 'practice makes perfect' definitely applied to the Jonesboro girls basketball team this week.
The No. 1-ranked Lady Cardinals (8-0, 3-0) had won its last two games going into Friday but head coach John Kovzel wasn't happy with their effort. Kovzel's solution: make the team work extra hard in practice, including a 6:45 session Thursday morning in addition the afternoon practices.
"Tuesday night's effort (against Cedar Grove) was poor," Kovzel said. "I was upset and we had two hard days of practice. We worked pretty hard in the last two days; I was real happy with the effort."
The extra work paid off Friday as Jonesboro beat Mt. Zion 69-43. Sisters Jasmine and Jawanda Duffey paced the Lady Cardinals as Jasmine scored 18 while Jawanda had 16.
"It was outstanding," Kovzel said. "I was real pleased."
Shade' Smith scored 9 points, all of which came in the first quarter.
"She started out hot but she did a good job getting the ball inside later in the game," Kovzel said. "She's a great team player. I was also pleased with my bench tonight, especially LaToya Jackson, Erin Durham and Sheena Brown, who is coming off an injury."
Jawanda Duffey, Brown and LaTreace Johnson all are coming off injuries and all got to play Friday.
"They're not at full speed," Kovzel said. "I was able to baby them along tonight, especially when we were up big."
Ashaunte Bussey led Mt. Zion with 19 points.
Even though his team is the No. 1-ranked Class AAAA team in this week's gasports.net poll, Kovzel isn't taking anything for granted.
"It's quite an honor," Kovzel said. "It's a great accomplishment but it's a great motivating tool for teams to play against us. We have the bull's eye on our backs now."
Jonesboro plays host to North Clayton today at 4 p.m.
"They're going to be pumped up and ready to play us," Kovzel said.
Mt. Zion 44, Jonesboro 35 (boys): Mt. Zion's Demarcus Lewis led all scorers with 12 points. Montavious Jackson and Mikal Bennett added 8 each while Derek Slaughter scored 7.
Brandon Lucas led Jonesboro with 8. Harold Walker and Chris Wells chipped in 7 each.
Jonesboro led for much of the first quarter but Slaughter brought Mt. Zion to within two points with about four seconds remaining as he hit a 3-pointer, cutting Jonesboro's led to 10-8.
Mt. Zion then outscored Jonesboro 25-11 over the next two quarters. Mt. Zion led 33-21 going into the final stanza.