By Doug Gorman
Some teams don't get too caught up in state rankings.
At Jonesboro, head girls' basketball coach John Kovzel uses it as a way to motivate his team, and with good reason.
The Lady Cardinals are ranked No-1 in the recent gasports.net Class AAAA coaches poll, but Kovzel knows all it takes is one loss to knock his team from its lofty perch.
For three quarters Tuesday night, it appeared Southwest DeKalb, which is also ranked in the weekly state poll in the No.-7 spot, would spoil the Lady Cardinals' unbeaten streak and put an end to the school's first-ever No.-1 ranking in girls' basketball.
Then Jonesboro caught fire in the fourth quarter, on it way to a low scoring 42-29 victory.
"I would rather win an ugly game, than lose an ungly game," said Kovzel.
Neither team looked worthy of their state rankings in the first half. Plagued by cold shooting and too many turnovers, Jonesboro only led 9-8 at the end of the first quarter and 18-17 at the end of the first half.
Then Jonesboro really went to sleep in the third quarter, scoring just two points as Southwest DeKalb took a 26-20 lead at the end of the third quarter.
"We just weren't playing really well early, said Kovzel. "Things finally started to come together in the fourth quarter."
Jawanda Duffey scored two quick baskets to open the final quarter, cutting Southwest DeKalb's lead to 26-24. Shenna Brown then tied the game with the next Jonesboro basket.
A few minutes later, Kayla Smith scored a basket to give Jonesboro the lead for good.
Jonesboro went on a 16-0 run to open the fourth quarter before Southwest DeKalb scored its first points of the final quarter with just 1:28 left in the game.
Jonesboro improved its record to 10-0 overall and 4-0 in the region.
Jonesboro was led by Jasmine Duffey's 15 points.
Southwest DeKalb 68, Jonesboro 51 (boys): It's a good bet the Jonesboro Cardinals would love to forget about the second half of last night's game against Southwest DeKalb.
After clinging to a 27-26 lead at the end of the first half, Jonesboro couldn't stop the Panthers inside or outside game in the final two quarters, as Southwest DeKalb rolled to a 68-51 victory.
Southwest DeKalb's Brian Hazzard drilled three 3-point shots in the third quarter and teammate Brian Cauthan scored eight points as the Panthers took the lead for good.
The Panthers led 50-43 at the end of the third quarter, and outscored the Cardinals 18-8 in the final quarter.
The loss spoiled a solid effort from Jonesboro LeAndre Smith and Chris Wells, who scored 12 points each. Brandon Lucas scored 11.
Southwest DeKalb was led by Rozell Lampkin and Hazzard with 13 each.
The two teams keep the game close in the first half as the momentum went back and forth between the two squads.
Southwest DeKalb led 10-5, in the first quarter, but Jonesboro cut into margin later in the quarter when Brandon Lucas hit a basket to slice the lead to 12-11.
Later in the quarter Smith came up with a 3-pointer to tie the game at 14 and Lucas scored again to tie the game at 16 heading into the second quarter.
Jonesboro went on a 7-0 run to open the second quarter and took a 23-16 lead on a basket by Stephan Philyaw.
However, Jonesboro only lead 27-26 at the break.