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Jackson gives payback with big comeback
The Indians rallied from a 15-point deficit to win a rematch with Notre Dame 69-66.
A varsity high school basketball game is 32 minutes long.
So when Notre Dame's boys basketball team led 25-10 over Jackson after one quarter and 40-26 at the half on Friday at home, it would have been a little premature to write off the Indians.
Jackson took advantage of the full 32 minutes, scoring the game-winning basket on a layup with 28 seconds left to secure a 69-66 come-from-behind win.
"I don't think we ever really got down," said Jackson senior Kyle Pridemore, who made the game-winning basket.
The rematch of the Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament final, which Notre Dame won, drew a capacity crowd with some fans having to wait in the cold for a while as the doors were closed shortly after the start of the junior varsity game.
Jackson improved to 14-3, while Notre Dame fell to 14-2.
The Indians chipped away at Notre Dame's lead in the third quarter thanks in large part to the play of their twin towers. Six-foot-6 sophomore Hunter Grantham scored nine points in the third, and 6-11 senior Aaron Redecker added six points.
Grantham was the main threat for the Indians in the second half, as he finished with a game-high 22 points. Redecker finished with 14, eight of which came in the second half.
"It's hard to get the ball to two post players equally," Jackson coach Darrin Scott said. "It seemed like [Alex] Ressel was in the position to guard Grantham, and we wanted to attack him."
Added Notre Dame coach Paul Hale: "They got the ball a lot more inside than we got it inside, that was probably the difference in the game."
The Indians attacked Ressel on offense, and on defense they nearly silenced the 6-3 senior. After going off for a game-high 22 points in the Christmas Tournament final, Ressel had just six points Friday.
Ressel had just three points in each half, with four points coming from the free throw line. Unlike the previous meeting, Ressel also had to battle foul trouble, picking up his fourth foul with 55 seconds left in the third quarter.
"When he did get it inside, he was surrounded by a lot of timber," Hale said. "They did a much better job guarding him. They played zone this time, not man."
Pridemore's ability to handle Notre Dame's press Friday was also a big difference from the last meeting. Jackson limited its turnovers after halftime, and Pridemore even generated his share of steals. Pridemore also added 15 points.
"Kyle Pridemore can handle the ball," Scott said. "He's strong with it, and he played like that the second half."
It was Pridemore's defense which provided the game-changing play. After Pridemore tied the score with a short jumper with 1:07 left, he came up with a steal and a layup with 28 seconds left to give the Indians a 68-66 lead.
"It felt really good," Pridemore said. "I was looking to get some steals all game. They finally threw one I could get to. It just happened to be the one at the end."
Notre Dame had a chance to tie following Pridemore's basket, but the Bulldogs turned the ball over with less than 10 seconds left. Ryan Leet hit one of two free throws to put Jackson up 69-66, and Kirk Boeller missed a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Jackson hit 12 of 16 free throws in the second half to help complete its comeback. The Bulldogs made four of eight in the fourth quarter from the line.
"We still had our chances, but we missed some free throws the fourth quarter and they hit theirs," Hale said.
Xavier Delph led the Bulldogs with 19 points. Boeller added 18 points and put on a shooting clinic in the first quarter with four 3-pointers and 14 points.
Thanks to Boeller's first-quarter shooting -- he ended the first quarter with a 3-pointer at the buzzer from more than 30 feet out -- the Bulldogs raced to their 15-point lead. Jackson made a 10-0 run to start the second, but fell back into a 14-point deficit at the half.
"We talked at halftime about character, composure and about this being a season-defining game for us," Scott said. "When I said that, I hoped we'd win."
Jackson 69, Notre Dame 66
JACKSON (69) -- Hunter Grantham 22, Kyle Pridemore 15, Aaron Redecker 14, Ryan Leet 8, Drue McNeely 6, Jake Leet 4. FG 26, FT 14-18, F 14 (3-pointers: McNeely 2, Pridemore 1. Fouled out: none)
NOTRE DAME (66) -- Xavier Delph 19, Kirk Boeller 18, Frankie Ellis 8, Alex Ressel 6, Ryan Willen 6, Brandon Holzum 7, Logan Haines 2. FG 27, FT 5-10, F 18 (3-pointers: Boeller 5, Delph 1, Holzum 1. Fouled out: none)
JV -- Notre Dame 58, Jackson 54