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J-Boro wins as coach reaches milestone victory

By Derrick Mahone

dmahone@news-daily.com

Four games into the season, and the Jonesboro's boys team has perfect record.

But coach Dan Maehlman and his players we quickly team you that they are not nearly perfect in their performances in the young season.

The Cardinals opened their Region 4-AAAA schedule Tuesday at home with a convincing 75-56 win over Creekside, but the team sees room for improvement.

"If we had to grade ourselves on a scale of zero to 10, we would be between a five and six," Maehlman said. "Four games into the season, the 4-0 record really doesn't mean anything to me right now. I told them to image ourselves was we get clicking on all cylinders, and what a 10 would look like."

Senior point guard Rasham Suarez agreed.

"We haven't played at 100 percent yet," said the Georgia Southern signee, who finished with a team-high 19 points. "We are around 55 percent. We still has a ways to go. We got to keep doing the little things to get better and to become a pretty good team."

The Cardinals (4-0) would have a hard time convincing Creekside that they are not a real good team. After trailing going into the second quarter, Jonesboro outscored the Seminoles 23-11 in the second quarter to take control of the game.

Jonesboro lead 33-22 at the intermission, and was never really threaten against by the Seminoles, who dropped to 0-3 on the season. Creekside was led by senior Aaron Harrison, who had a game-high 32 points.

James White, an Arkansas-Little Rock signee, had 18 points for the Cardinals, which feature a couple thunderous dunks that brought the crowd to its feet.

The Cardinals were playing their first home game of the season after winning the Parkview Tip-Off Classic over the Thanksgiving break in Gwinnett County.

"Our confidence was definitely boosted by winning that tournament," White said. "We feel like we can compete with anybody. We know we now has a bull's eye on our back. We got to play 100 percent now because teams will be playing us at 100 percent."

Tuesday's win was also special because it marked Maehlman's 100th coaching win at the Clayton County school since becoming head coach in 2005. Prior to that, he was an assistant beginning in 1999.

Maehlman tried to downplay the milestone win.

"I told the team that it was nice, but I'm not really concerned with that," he said. "I take more pride in coaching young kids, I could careless in how many wins I have. To me, it is all about these kids and that is why I do what I do."

But the players were excited about being apart of the win.

"He works so hard for us," Suarez said. "I told him that we will always have his back. He has always been there for us."

Jonesboro's girls team improved to 3-1 with a 40-27 win over Creekside in the Lady Cardinals home opener.

Nala Richards and Victoria Florence scored eight points each to pace the team in what is expected to be a building year.

The Lady Cardinals don't have any seniors on its squad.

"Defensively, we played great tonight," Lady Cardinals coach Michael House said. "We applied a lot of pressure on the ball. We were never really able to get into any rhythm on offense. We are going to have some growing pains with such a young team."