Jackson boys basketball downs host Woodland

Monday, January 9, 2017
Jackson's Jacob Friess shoots over Woodland's Tyler Womack during the fourth quarter Monday in Marble Hill, Missouri.
Fred Lynch

MARBLE HILL, Mo. -- After more than a week off, the Jackson boys basketball team showed no signs of rust Monday night, as a strong start propelled the Indians to a double-digit victory.

Jackson, which hadn't played since finishing fourth at the Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament on Dec. 30, jumped on host Woodland early with a game-opening 11-2 run.

Nearly five minutes into the game, the visitors led 13-4.

Woodland never could recover, as Jackson cruised to a 75-51 win. Junior Cameron Hester had a game-high 16 points and was one of four Jackson players to reach double digits.

"I felt like defensively we came out very aggressive," Jackson coach Darrin Scott said. "We did a really good job with our intensity, taking away the things we wanted to. Got some turnovers a few times, which helped us because anytime you can do that defensively and you get a few easy baskets or some things go early, that allows you to relax a little bit on offense.

Jackson's Gavin Harris passes the ball to Payton Salyer as Woodland's Mike McCormick defends during the first quarter Monday, Jan. 9, 2017 in Marble Hill, Missouri.
Fred Lynch

"That 11-2 run to start the game was huge."

The smaller Cardinals -- in height and school size -- struggled to control the ball against Jackson's press. Even when they got into a half-court offense, passes sometimes went astray.

Despite those problems, Woodland managed to cut the deficit to five, 17-12, by the end of the first period.

Then on the first two possession of the second quarter, Woodland turned the ball over, leading to fast-break points for Jackson.

First, Hester scored from close range, followed by a one-handed breakaway dunk by junior Pete Lake.

Just like that, Jackson's lead was back to nine, 21-12.

"We didn't execute well," Woodland coach Brad Lenaburg said about facing the press. "We didn't get open. You can't simulate that in practice. You can't simulate length. You can't simulate quickness like that, and we just didn't get open. Couldn't make a pass. When we dribbled it, we fumbled it out of our hands.

"That's just not playing strong."

Class 5 Jackson (8-5) has seven players on the roster who are 6-foot-4 or taller, including Hester and Lake. Woodland (9-4), a Class 3 school, has two.

Jackson's Grayson Ward blocks a shot by Woodland's Mike McCormick during the first quarter Monday, Jan. 9, 2017 in Marble Hill, Missouri.
Fred Lynch

Michael McCormick is one of those two players. The 6-7 senior led the Cardinals with 14 points, including 10 in the third quarter. With McCormick pouring in points, the hosts drew within nine, 47-38, midway through the third frame.

But that was the closest the hosts got.

Jackson guard Gavin Harris nailed a 3-pointer -- one of eight treys the Indians made Monday -- that sparked a 7-0 run to end the quarter.

Woodland never drew within single digits again.

"They shot well," Lenaburg said. "They shot the 3-ball well. Inside, they're tough. Long shots, going to get some rebounds.

"You've got to pick your poison somewhere. Does Hester get 30 or do you try to control the inside? And the outside guys shot the ball well. So you've got to give them credit."

Woodland, which started the season 7-0, is now 2-4 since the start of the Christmas Tournament on Dec. 26.

Harris added 12 points, Desmond Morris had 11 and Lake added 10. It was first game for the trio since Dec. 8 after sitting out seven games due to a team suspension.

With a full team Monday, Scott had relatively fresh bodies to throw at the Cardinals when they made that charge in the third frame.

"The third quarter, it felt like McCormick stepped his game up, and they were killing us on the offensive glass," Scott said. "We were able to go to our bench and sub, and I thought Brett (Varner), Grayson (Ward) and Payton (Salyer) came in and gave us great energy. We did a better job rebounding.

Woodland's Paul Duncan looks to pass as Jackson's Jacob Friess defends during the first quarter Monday, Jan. 9, 2017 in Marble Hill, Missouri.
Fred Lynch

"Now those guys that were having to play those more extended minutes earlier were able to come in, in a role where they could really help the team. And I thought that was huge because once we were able to stop them there, get a few stops, we knocked a big shot down after we got a rebound. That was the key to the game, I think, in the second half."

Hester scored 12 points in the first half, as Jackson jumped out to a 33-19 lead at halftime. The post player added four more points in the final two periods.

It turned out to be one of Hester's better scoring games so far this season.

"For him, his job is a lot easier now because you're putting guys around him -- more guys around him -- that can do things and make plays, and then he was able to catch it in better spots where he could finish," Scott said. "He's hard to guard one-on-one, but if you can guard him two or three guys down and make him give it up and then get back out on the shooters, then that's a good game plan.

"And tonight it makes it a little bit tougher having some of those other guys back. And not just shooting the ball but just overall ball movement."

Jackson now turns its attention to the Lindbergh Flyer Invitational Tournament in St. Louis, which begins Wednesday.

Woodland, which moved a game at Oran from Thursday to Jan. 30, hosts Meadow Heights on Friday. The Panthers eliminated the Cardinals in a consolation semifinal at the Christmas Tournament.

Woodland can avenge that loss and snap a two-game losing streak with a victory.


JACKSON (75) -- Cameron Hester 16, Pete Lake 10, Gavin Harris 12, Grayson Ward 2, Gavin Harris 4, Desmond Morris 11, Brett Varner 4, Jacob Friess 7, Jonathon Friess 2, Drew King 4, Seth Beussink 3. FG 32. FT 3-5. F 17. (3-pointers: Harris 4, Morris 3, Jacob Friess. Fouled out: None.)

WOODLAND (51) --Paul Duncan 9, Michael McCormick 14, Connor Goodwin 9, Tyler Massa 6, Bruester Young 6, Tyler Womack 2, Tommy Grindstaff 2, Iain Long 3. FG 19. FT 9-19. F 8. (3-pointers: Young 2, Goodwin, Long. Fouled out: None.)

[Editor's note: Clarification on team suspension for Jackson players.]

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