Junior Jessica Jackson scored 13 of her 18 points in the second half to push Jacksonville past host Pine Bluff 65-47 victory Monday night in the Southeast Arkansas Invitational.

Junior Jessica Jackson scored 13 of her 18 points in the second half to push Jacksonville past host Pine Bluff 65-47 victory Monday night in the Southeast Arkansas Invitational.

The game was the second of the tournament, and the junior forward did not disappoint in the nightcap.

“It wasn’t too good, like on my free throws and stuff, but it was OK,” Jackson said. “At the first half, it was kinda like (I was) not into it yet. Our coaches just (kept) talking to us, saying, ‘Stay in our game’ and stuff like that, show them what I got and keep working hard.”

The No. 4-ranked wing and 13th-ranked junior in the country, according to ESPNHS’s HoopGurlz, also finished with 17 rebounds and five blocks, which, according to Jacksonville coach Katrina Mimms, is standard production.

“Jackson’s always gonna have a good performance,” Mimms said. “It may look bad sometimes, but then you look at the stat sheet. She’s just there.”

The final score may be a bit misleading. Both teams were locked at 14 entering the second quarter, and Pine Bluff took a 27-22 lead into halftime, as Marquietta Armour knocked down two foul shots with no time remaining. Armour and freshman Jasmyn Eckermann each scored seven of their 11 individual points in the first half to control the pace.

The second half, however, clearly favored Jacksonville.

Eckermann stole a pass midway through the third quarter, drove the length of a court into a double team and pulled up for a mid-range jumper. She ran over a moving defender in the process to the delight of the visiting fans.

On the following possession, with 5 minutes left in the third, Eckermann jumped up and blocked a shot by Jackson, peaking the momentum for the Fillies as Jackson had basically been shut down until that point. However, Jackson maintained control of the ball and drove to the hoop for two and the foul.

“I thought we really started out really, really slow,” Mimms said. “We had a little first-game jitters. I thought in the second half they settled down and started doing what they needed to do. (We) started getting to the basket, drawing and dishing and doing the things we needed to do, hitting some outside shots.”

Jackson then began to find her offensive rhythm, scoring nine points in the third and driving to the basket with higher frequency. The offense simultaneously opened up for her Red Devil teammates; center Nichole Bennett opened up under the hoop on fast-break opportunities, scoring 14 of her 16 points in the second half.

Tiffany Smith found Bennett often, dishing six assists, and also caught fire behind the arc, burying three of her four 3-point shots on her way to 16 points.

What the 6-foot-3 Jackson lacked in point production in the first half, she made up for on the defensive end with her length and height advantage. For every shot she blocked, she seemed to alter just as many, and tipped rebounds she couldn’t control cleanly to teammates.

“Once we had to go get (the Red Devils), it was just blow-by, blow-by by the big kids,” Moore said. “Once you’re behind, you’ve gotta go get them, and they made us pay. It’s just a team that’s tough to play from behind on.”

Turnovers again played an Achilles’ heel for Pine Bluff. In addition to nine missed free throws in the first half alone, the Fillies were plagued with traveling violations, errant passes and ill-advised dribbles through double teams.

“I thought we were in good shape at halftime,” Moore said. “Those two areas just got worse. I think we missed even more free throws than that in the second half and turnovers were just ridiculous.

“We were keeping the ball in front of us defensively, which you’ve gotta do against them. You can’t give a lot of dribble penetration. It’s just not a good situation. We played hard; we’re just in a big learning curve right now.”

Dumas 62, Marianna 18

A’Diamond Johnson matched Marianna’s total point output in the first half alone, scoring 18 points in leading Dumas in the Invitational opener. The starters began rotating out before halftime for the Lady Bobcats.

Shabr’an Richardson scored 13 points for Dumas, while Mona Mitchell finished with 12.