Jackson senior Jake Leet (25) beat Rams defender Alex King to the basket for a layup Thursday night during the semifinals of the Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament
at the Show Me Center.
Jackson's Hunter Grantham spent time watching an exciting game before he stepped onto the court with his team for some Christmas Tournament quarterfinal action Thursday at the Show Me Center.
The 6-foot-5 senior glanced on from the sidelines as No. 7 Central upset No. 2 Bell City.
He said watching the Tigers pull off a four-point victory put more urgency in him, going up against No. 6 Scott City.
Grantham scored 20 points, including 14 in the first half, to help Jackson post a 64-44 win over Scott City.
"That gave us momentum to make sure we play hard every game and not underestimate anybody," Grantham said about watching Bell City lose. "Every team out here is good and every team out here practices every day so they know what they're doing, and if you don't go hard and hustle, they can get by you and slip a win."
While Grantham controlled the first half, Jackson 6-foot-3 senior Jake Leet controlled the second, scoring 15 after the break as the Indians advance to today's semifinals where they play Central at 7:30 p.m.
Leet had 21 points in the game to lead all scorers.
"He [Grantham] is just really strong, and he can move some bodies around and is going to go hard," Scott City's Alex King said, who then discussed Leet's strong second half. "Jake's a good shooter, and I guess we just left him open too much. ... I guess we couldn't find him off man."
Jackson and Scott City exchanged leads throughout the first quarter and the Indians went into the second period leading 19-12.
Scott City's Jay Simmons scored a 2-point field goal to begin the second quarter, bringing the score to 19-14.
The Indians then went on a 6-2 spurt, but Scott City stayed close, heading into the break down 29-24.
Grantham said Indians coach Darrin Scott emphasized in the locker room slowing down the pace in the second half and bringing the ball to the basket.
"He told us to just keep working it inside out, and if we're open to shoot it, slow it down and keep working it around mainly," Grantham said. "Keep working it around, and if the post play is not there to kick it out for a good shot."
That is exactly what the Indians did, extending their lead to eight points, outscoring the Rams 15-12 by shooting inside and kicking it out to Leet, who hit two 3-pointers in the period and two 2-point baskets.
Grantham scored to begin the third to give the Indians a 31-24 advantage. Leet then hit a 3-pointer with 6:45 remaining in the quarter to bring the lead to 34-24.
Leet hit another 3-pointer right before the close of the third, and from there Jackson controlled fourth-quarter play to come away with a 20-point victory.
"He knows how to get open," Jackson senior Spencer Goodman said about Leet. "He knows how to knock down shots, so he did it tonight."
When Jackson plays Central today in the semifinals, it will be the third time the two teams have met this season. Jackson won both, with a win over the Tigers in the Farmington tournament and the SEMO Conference tournament.
"We've played them twice so far this year, so we know their personnel and we know every night is a new night, so we've got to be ready to play," Goodman said. "I am sure they're playing team ball. They're doing it without one guy scoring. They've got all five guys."
JACKSON 64, SCOTT CITY 44
Jackson 19 10 15 20 -- 64
Scott City 12 12 12 8 -- 44
Jackson (64) -- Marcus Harris 2, Spencer Goodman 14, Matt Lang 2, Jacob Leet 21, Aaron Floyd 2, Hunter Grantham 20, Antonio Garritano 3. FG 26, FT 10-13, F 17 (3-pointers: Leet 2. Fouled out: none)
Scott City (44) -- John Pinkston 3, Jay Simmons 15, Shae Simmons 3, Caleb Estes 10, Ryan Modglin 3, Alex King 10. FG 15, FT 8-15, F 16 (3-pointers: J. Simmons 3, Estes 2, S. Simmons 1. Fouled out: King)