Jackson puts a halt to two-game skid

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Jackson's boys basketball team was coming off a 28-point loss to district-rival Poplar Bluff, its second straight loss, as it entered Saturday's matchup with Scott City in the Tiger Shootout at Central High School.

The Indians, ranked No. 4 in Class 5, took out their frustrations on the Rams, blowing open a close game in the second quarter en route to a 68-52 win.

"We just had to stop the bleeding," Jackson guard Jack Puisis said.

No one was more ready to stop the bleeding than Jackson (12-2) center Tyler McNeely. After being held to a season-low six points on Friday, McNeely came out of the gates scoring Jackson's first 10 points.

Scott City (8-3) has a center of its own, and 6-foot-9 Tyler Ward matched McNeely shot for shot in the first quarter. After one quarter Scott City led 19-18 with McNeely outscoring Ward 10-9.

"The battle of the Tylers was a good one this game," Jackson coach Mike Kiehne said.

The game remained close through most of the second quarter, but after an Andy Beck 3-pointer brought Scott City to within 30-26, the Indians went on a 9-2 run to close out the half.

Jack Puisis' first of three 3-pointers sparked the run for Jackson, which led 39-28 at halftime.

Puisis said he knew he needed to step up after Scott City started to double on McNeely.

"He looked for me to hit some 3's and I did that," Puisis said.

Out of halftime the Rams made a 9-2 run of their own to cut the lead to 41-37. Mark Dannenmueller scored seven points to spark Scott City's run.

Puisis fired back for the Indians. With the lead back down to four, Puisis hit two big 3-pointers to push the lead to 47-38.

"It seemed like every time we made a run they made a big shot," Scott City coach Lance Amick said.

Jackson led 49-38 when the Rams made their final run. Tyler Ward hit two straight baskets for Scott City, but Dannenmueller missed on the Rams next time down the floor after an Indian turnover.

The Indians wasted no time on their next possession, giving the ball to reserve guard Cody Cardwell, who drained a 3-pointer. Cardwell's 3-pointer pushed the lead to 52-42, and Jackson's lead would not fall below 10 points the rest of the game.

"As the year's gone on, he gets more confident," Kiehne said of Cardwell. "He just stepped up and shot it. He can knock down that shot."

McNeely led the Indians with 23 points and Puisis added 17. Dannenmueller led the Rams with 23 points and Ward finished with 19.

Scott City's three losses this season have come to Class 5 schools Jackson and Central, and to Charleston, the No. 1 team in Class 3.

"We've hung in there against the Class 5's and against the No. 1 team in Class 3, but we just can't get over the hump and it's frustrating," Amick said.

Scott City1991410--52
Jackson18211316--68

SCOTT CITY (52) -- Mark Dannenmueller 23, Tyler Ward 19, Jeremy Schlosser 4, Andy Beck 5, Mark Johnston 1. FG 20, FT 10-12, F 12 (3-pointers: Beck 1, Dannenmueller 1. Fouled out: none)

JACKSON (68) -- Tyler McNeely 23, Jack Pusisi 17, Jason Schafer 8, Nick Fiehler 8, Brad Eaton 2, Cody Cardwell 3, Marc Lumsden 5, Ryan Mirly 2. FG 29, FT 3-6, F 13 (3-pointers: Puisis 3, McNeely 3, Cardwell 1. Fouled out: Eaton)

jjoffray@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 171

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