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JONESBORO (GA) – Dictate is defined as acting domineeringly.
Led by Jamari Smith, the Jonesboro Cardinals fulfilled this task against Tucker in the second half of a 53-44 home win on January 25 in Region 4-AAAAAA competition.
“The difference in the game was in the first half they dictated to us and in the second half we said we aren’t going to allow you to do that anymore,” Jonesboro coach Dan Maehlman said. “We’re going to dictate.”
On the way to helping the Cardinals improve to 11-1 in region play, Smith finished with game highs of 27 points and 21 rebounds. The 6-6 forward was all over the glass, skying towards the rim to sometimes grab the ball at his peak. He also scored four layups on putbacks.
“I love rebounding–that is one thing I take pride in,” said Smith, who plans to attend Queens University of Charlotte next season. “I don’t look to score but I can and I really love rebounding. I’m quick off my feet and I’m going to go at you 110 percent every time on the defensive glass and offensive glass. Every time the ball goes up I’m trying to get it.”
“It kind of speaks for itself for a guy that averages 23 points and 11 rebounds a game and does it every single night,” Maehlman said. “That is the definition of a stud. He’s done it all year long.”
As expected, Javon Tatum did what he could to counter Smith, scoring 18 points on jumpers and layups, which included a smooth reverse layin during an 11-1 run to produce a 27-20 edge for Tucker at halftime.
“Tucker is well coached,” Maehlman said. “Coach [James] Hartry is a legend in my eyes and those kids played hard.”
But in the third quarter, the Cardinals imposed their will in the paint, resulting in a 38-38 score with one quarter left to play.
“They were tougher than us in the first half,” Smith said. “We came out in the second half and outworked them.”
After giving his team a slight cushion from the free-throw line, Smith extended the lead to 44-38 with a two-handed dunk on a pass from Brandon Walker. Not long afterwards, Walker found Smith again for a layup on the way to Jonesboro stretching its advantage to 11 and eventually sealing a regular season sweep against Tucker.