Honoring and winning

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Jackson retired the jersey of Jason Schafer prior to a victory over Hillsboro. ~ Southeast Missourian

On an emotional night at Jackson High School, the Indians boys basketball team used a balanced attack to double up visiting Hillsboro 72-36 on Tuesday night.

Before the varsity game, the Indians retired the jersey of Jason Schafer, a senior varsity basketball player who died in a one-car accident in September. With much of the crowd wearing red Jackson basketball shirts with Schafer's No. 31 on the back, the Indians had little trouble dispatching of Hillsboro.

Jackson coach Darrin Scott said while the win certainly does not take away any of the pain caused by Schafer's death, he hopes Schafer's family got to see how much he meant to his school and teammates.

"Hopefully the Schafer family knows how important Jason was to everybody," he said.

After the emotional ceremony, which included the presentation of a framed jersey to Schafer's parents, Bob and Shirlene, the Indians got down to business.

Jackson came out at a frantic pace, fighting for every loose ball and rebound that came its way.

"One thing, effort wasn't going to be an issue tonight," Scott said.

The Indians used all 12 players in the opening quarter, getting everyone into the flow of the game as they built a 16-11 lead.

"A goal was to try to get everybody involved early, then after that see how everybody plays," Scott said.

By the second quarter the Indians were starting to take control of the game. Rotating players in and out in units of five at a time, Jackson was able to put the clamp on Hillsboro's offense while taking advantage of a size advantage down low.

The strong defensive effort had Jackson out to a 31-21 lead by halftime. Nine different players scored for the Indians by halftime, led by Jack Puisis' nine points.

"We've been talking a lot about how we play the game, instead of how well we play the game. We were able to stay in the game because of how well we guarded," Scott said.

With the second unit in for much of the third quarter, Jackson put the game out of reach. Hillsboro was held scoreless the first 4:26 of the quarter, while Jackson pushed its lead to 45-21. By the start of the fourth quarter, Jackson led 54-26.

Scott said one thing he knows he's going to get from his bench is a strong defensive effort.

"We definitely don't drop off defensively. Our pressure's good, normally when we sub we pressure more," Scott said. "I just feel good about the kids we have coming off the bench. They come ready to play and get after it."

All 12 players found the scoring column for the Indians, led by Puisis with 13 points. Aaron Redecker added 11 for the Indians.

The Indians will have a couple of days to come down from the emotions before facing Kennett at home on Friday. After that, Jackson will not play again until the Christmas Tournament.

"The biggest thing for us is we want to take where we're at now and continue to improve regardless if you're 6-0 or 0-6," Scott said.

Of course, with the top seed in the Christmas Tournament and a perfect record so far, Scott likes what the Indians have done to this point.

"That's the good thing. I still feel we have a lot of room to improve and continue to get better," Scott said.

Jackson 72, Hillsboro 36


HILLSBORO (36) -- Teddy McGrath 10, Dex Wallace 9, Jake Dallas 2, Billy Crow 4, Jason Weiners 1, Kyle Proemsey 2, Brandon Glore 2, Zach Pennock 2, Steve Scanlon 2. FG 13, FT 8-16, F 16 (3-pointers: McGrath 2. Fouled out: none)

JACKSON (72) -- Aaron Redecker 11, Jack Puisis 13, Ryan Mirly 6, Drue McNeely 7, Trey Stone 6, Tyler Beussink 5, Adam Ross 6, Eric Poythress 2, Cody Cardwell 4, Tyler Grantham 4, Kyle Pridemore 2, Ryan Leet 3. FG 29, FT 9-14, F 15 (3-pointers: Beussink 1, Leet 1, Puisis 1, McNeely 1. Fouled out: none)

JV: Jackson def. Hillsboro

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