SPRINGFIELD — Jo Jo Booker’s value to the Arnold girls basketball team couldn’t have been more evident Thursday night.
Booker sparked the Marlins’ 13-0 run to start the game, and Arnold’s defense held firm throughout a 47-35 win over Rutherford at The Ram House in a District 1-5A matchup.
Arnold improved to 3-1 and 2-0 in the district. The Rams slipped to 2-2 and 0-1.
Booker, a senior, scored five points during the game-opening spurt that put the Marlins ahead early. Booker finished with five points, three assists and two blocked shots in the first quarter, and freshman Lilyann Robinson scored six points inside as Arnold built a 17-5 lead through eight minutes.
arnold coach Bryan Normand said he installed a 1-3-1 zone defense just for this game during practice on Wednesday, and he said he needed only a few minutes for the girls to grasp the fundamentals of what he was trying to teach. That defensive scheme flustered Rutherford early by keeping the Rams out of the paint and forcing them to settle for perimeter jumpers. The Rams were held without a bucket until Bailey Garner’s layin pulled Rutherford within 13-2 with 3:20 left in the quarter.
“I thought we played extremely well as a team,” Arnold guard Nina McClanahan said. “We’ve been struggling to play as a team, but tonight we brought it together and really improved.”
Booker got into some foul trouble in the first half, picking up her third with 4:38 left in the second quarter. She took a seat on the bench, and Rutherford closed within 20-11 on Marsheba Addison’s putback with two minutes remaining. Arnold closed the half on a positive note, however, as Brenna Hogan made a free throw and later stole the ball and converted a layin just before the horn sounded at halftime for a 23-11 edge.
Booker returned to the floor in the second half, and her jumper from the elbow gave the Marlins a 33-16 lead with just under three minutes left in the third quarter. She suffered what looked like a right ankle sprain under her team’s basket on Rutherford’s ensuing possession, however, and she sat on the bench with ice on her ankle for the remainder of the game.
That opened the door for the Rams to charge back into contention, and they did so with a 9-0 run to start the final quarter. Addison sparked the run with a 3-pointer, and she and Alisha Williams converted back-to-back layups to pull Rutherford within 37-31 with 5:05 left. Arnold’s Megan Pavlov broke her team’s dry spell with a pair of free throws, and a Savannah Adcock layin stretched the Marlins’ lead to 41-31.
McClanahan, who said she hopes her team can challenge for a state tournament berth this year, credited Booker for her contribution before the injury.
“She helps the team out tremendously,” McClanahan said. “She’s a good team player and likes to encourage us.”
Added Normand: “Jo Jo is a leader on the floor and takes control of the game when others are doing silly things. She calms us down. Even after she was hurt and was on the bench, she was coaching the players up.”
ARNOLD(47) — McClanahan 4 3-6 12, Booker 4 2-4 10, Hogan 3 3-6 9, Robinson 4 0-0 8, Adcock 1 1-2 3, Pavlov 1 3-4 5. Totals 17 12-22 47.
RUTHERFORD(35) — Garner 2 0-0 4, Ta. Scott 3 3-3 10, Jackson 1 0-4 2, Bissick 0 0-2 0, Addison 3 0-0 7, Watson 2 0-0 4, Williams 4 0-1 8. Totals 15 3-10 35
Arnold 17 6 14 10 — 47
Rutherford 5 6 11 13 — 35
3-point goals: Arnold 1 (McClanahan), Rutherford 2 (Ta. Scott, Addison).
FranklinCounty34, Wewahitchka 26
WEWAHITCHKA — Jessica Smith scored eight points, Kara Walding eight and Valerie Peak seven for the Gators, 1-2.
Peak added 15 rebounds for Wewa, which hosts Ponce de Leon tonight at 7 p.m.
PDL 60, Cottondale 20
PONCEDE LEON — Hannah Howell had 20 points and Ashley Harper had nine points and seven rebounds for the Pirates, 5-0. Belilah Bass added eight points.
Rutherford 84, Mosley 50
LYNN HAVEN — Khaliel Spearman fired in 21 points to lead Rutherford to a victory over Mosley in a non-league game at the Jim Redfern Gymnasium.
Gabe Steele and Jai Jincks scored 13 points apiece, and Kiki Williamson added 11 for the Rams, who improved to 4-0. Rutherford led 47-28 at halftime.
“The guys are playing with good energy, especially after coming off Tuesday (a one-sided win over Niceville),” Rams coach Rhondie Ross said. “We had a good practice yesterday. We’ve got a lot of things we have to improve upon, but it’s early. I don’t want us to be the best we’re going to be in November.”
The Rams play at Dothan Northview on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
Bozeman53, Arnold 51
SAND HILLS — Brandon Suttles had 19 points, including four 3-pointers as Bozeman won its first game of the season. Herbie Harrell added 15 points including a key field goal late in the game for the Bucks 1-3. Cameron Britton had 18 points for Arnold.
Bozeman plays at South Walton tonight in District 4-1A.
Bay 82, Crestview 74
PANAMA CITY — Rayshawn Patterson scored 30 points and Ryan Norwood 13 as Bay won in overtime. Corey Brown added 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Tornadoes, 3-1. Crestview scored in the final seconds of regulation to force overtime with a 3-pointer that made it 63-63.
Norwood had seven of his points in the extra session as the Tornadoes pulled away.
Bay won the JV game 52-38 to move to 2-0.
The Tornadoes play in Marianna tonight.
Chipley 67, Jay 33
CHIPLEY — Tyrome Sharpe had 13 points, Trent Forrest 12, Logan Justice 11 and Kobe McCrary 10 for the Tigers. Eric Trevino had 18 for Jay.
Chipley, 3-0, plays at Freeport on Tuesday.
Bay 8, Marianna 0
MARIANNA — Jessica Harris, Sarah Judah and Mackenzie Rine all scored two goals for the Tornadoes in their District 1-2A victory. Laura Valcourt and Kaylee Pettibone also scored. Assists were by Judah, Brooke Adams, Valcourt, Emily Brueckner, Abigail Metcalfe and Pettibone.
Genevieve Smith had three saves and Christine Newton one for the shutout.
Bay, 7-1-0, 2-1-0 in district, hosts Maclay 5 p.m. today at Tommy Oliver Stadium.
PANAMA CITYBEACH — Arnold weightlifters placed first in seven of 10 weight classes to roll to a tri-meet victory over county rivals Bay and Bozeman. The Marlins finished with 43 points, and Bay and Bozeman each had 24.
Team scores: Arnold 43, Bay 24, Bozeman 24
101: A. Wilson (A) 115-105—220.
110: S. Purple (Bay) 100-100—200, O. Breeze (A) 95-80—175, R. Mays (Bay) 65-65—130.
119: B. Hamilton (Bay) 105-90—195, K. Helms (A) 95-100—195.
129: P. Ledman (A) 115-105—220, R. Johnston (Bo) 85-110—195, M. Galbreath (Bo) 90-85—175, P. Newell (Bay) 75-85-160.
139: I. McDonald (A) 105-100—205, J. Sweeting (Bay) 100-90—190, L. Estes (Bo) 90-90—180.
154: S. Fenlon (Bo) 90-100—190.
169: M. Plyler (A) 115-100—215, M. Watson (Bay) 95-115—210, R. Torres-Brown (A) 100-105—205, T. Williams (Bay) 65-65—130.
183: Ramsey (A) 135-145—280, J. Bryant (Bay) 95-85—180, B. Garcia (Bay) 85-80—165.
199: K. Waring (A) 120-120—240, K. Richardson (Bo) 100-95—195, K. Kaiser (Bo) 95-85—180.
Unl: Sankey (A) 145-140—285, S. Roberts (Bay) 115-140—255, L. Cobb (Bo) 100-95—195, K. Williams (Bay) 95-95—190.