ALMA — The Jacksonville Lady Red Devils saw their season come to a close Monday night in a 64-40 loss to the Paragould Lady Rams in the quarterfinals of the Class 5A state tournament.
Jacksonville advanced to the second round after a 68-57 win over the White Hall Lady Bulldogs in the opening round of the tournament.
The Lady Red Devils didn’t shoot well from the floor in either game, but were able to overcome that thanks to an All-World performance from Markela Bryles in the first game.
Bryles scored 34 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in the win against White Hall. Bryles was 11 of 17 from the floor in that game, while the rest of the Lady Devils were 9 of 33.
Jacksonville never found their range in the arena at Alma, and the shooting bug caught up with them against a determined Paragould squad.
The Lady Devils beat the Lady Rams in the 5A championship game last season, giving Paragould extra incentive to seek revenge this time around.
Jacksonville trailed just 26-23 at halftime, but the offensive woes continued in the second half while the Lady Rams went on a run to take control of the contest.
A team that often relies on some hot outside shooting, Jacksonville shot just 2 of 19 from beyond the arc in the first game and 4 of 20 in the second game. An 8 of 26 night from the free throw line against Paragould proved that it was just one of those night where the ball wasn’t going to fall the right way.
Jacksonville finishes the season 16-10, but really came together following a 0-5 start. Early on, the Red Devils had to deal with losing Jessica Jackson to graduation, losing their point guard to transfer, Bryles deciding to be a cheerleader and a new head coach. The Lady Devils got Bryles back, adjusted to their new system and challenged for the conference title down to the final games.