By Derrick Mahone
Jonesboro showed it doesn't necessarily have to play at its best to win.
The seventh-ranked Cardinals survived a scare from Morrow for a 52-42 home win in a Region 4-AAAA game Tuesday.
"They (Morrow) did a great job," Jonesboro coach Daniel Maehlman said. "They started in a triangle-and-two and flustered us a little bit. It bother us some in the first half. In the third quarter we started wondering if could win this, can we will this."
In the end, the Cardinals did win.
Maehlman gave much of the credit to the team for its defensive effort, especially in the fourth quarter. Jonesboro held the Mustangs to only four points in the final period.
Cardinals senior center James White scored a couple big fourth-quarter lay-ups to help put the game out of reach. White, a 6-foot-8 University of Arkansas-Little Rock, finished with 13 points.
But it was the eight points by Jordan Enadeghe off the bench that helped keep the Cardinals afloat as the starters struggled for most of the game. Leading scorer Rasham Suarez finished with a team-high 14 points, including nine in the second quarter.
"I told the guys that we have to put it together," Maehlman said. "We haven't played a full game this season. We are maybe at a half. I want to see us progress. I don't want to see us do it all at one time. I want to start going in the right direction so when February 12 come, the region tournament, we are hitting on all cylinders."
With the win, Jonesboro improves to 12-2 overall and 5-1 in the region as it prepares to play North Clayton Friday in a key region matchup. For weeks, this game has been the talk on the Internet.
But the Jonesboro players tried to down play it.
"It is another game," Suarez said. "We are looking to come out and play hard and hopefully get a win."
Said White: "It is another region game."
Maehlman didn't think his team had overlooked Morrow in anticipation of Friday's game.
It was Morrow's first game in 13 days after a 68-26 win over Jackson in the Chuck Miller Holiday Classic. The win snapped a six-game losing streak. The Mustangs are 5-8 overall and 1-6 in the region heading into Saturday's game at Creekside.
Morrow's defense was effective in the first quarter as it led 11-4 after the opening period. Jonesboro would make a 20-13 run in the second quarter to tie the game at 24-24 at the intermission.
The Mustangs would outscore Jonesboro 14-11 in the third quarter to retake the lead at 38-35. However, the fourth quarter belonged to Jonesboro as it outscored the Mustangs 17-4 to finish strong for the win.
"We came out a little flat," Suarez said. "We didn't practice that much after getting back from Puerto Rico so we were a little out of shape. We had to fight through all the adversity."
The Cardinals came out sluggish and didn't score their first points of the game until the 3:33 mark when Cameron Sutton made a lay-up as they trailed 6-2.
"It was a real aggressive and physical game," White said. "They played us real hard. It was like an NBA game out their."
Uland Nolley had 10 points to lead Morrow.
Jonesboro (girls) 57, Morrow 39: Briana Benson scored 11 of her team-high 16 points in the second half to lead the Lady Cardinals to the win.
With the win, Jonesboro improved to 7-4 overall and 5-2 in the region as Morrow dropped to 4-5 and 1-4.
The Lady Mustangs were led by Brittney Askew, who had 16 points.