Christmas Tournament: Jackson turns back Kelly

Friday, December 28, 2012
Jackson forward Blake Reynolds leaps up to steal a pass meant for Kelly senior Austin Wadlington during the Indians’ 59-25 win over the Hawks on Thursday. (ADAM VOGLER)

Kelly's hopes of a potential upset hinged on the Hawks playing to near perfection and Jackson being off its game.

Just the opposite happened, which made for a massive blowout to open Thursday's evening session on the first day of the Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament.

Fifth-seeded Jackson clicked on virtually all cylinders and routed 12th-seeded Kelly 59-25.

"We came out strong offensively and defensively," Jackson senior Braxton McDowell said.

The Indians shot 52 percent from the field (25 of 48), including 59 percent (16 of 27) in a first half that ended with them ahead 39-7.

Jackson (5-4) committed just four turnovers the entire contest while the Hawks (2-7) had 17 turnovers and shot 17 percent (6 of 35).

"I thought our bigs finished. I know we had a size advantage," Jackson coach Darrin Scott said. "The first quarter defensively we did a lot of good things. We were active. I was happy being up 39-7 at halftime.

"We had four turnovers. ... that's good. If we rebound well and don't turn it over we can play with anybody."

The Indians used their major size advantage to get inside for numerous layups while making it tough for Kelly to finish around the basket.

Jackson features six players standing 6-feet-4 or taller, including 6-8 and 6-7 forwards. Kelly's tallest player is listed as 6-3.

"Right off the bat they came out getting the shots they wanted. They got the ball inside to the big guys," Kelly coach Josh Eftink said. "Offensively we were a little too impatient. But our guys gave a great effort."

Jackson scored the game's first basket before Kelly senior Brent Forck drained a 3-pointer, giving the Hawks a 3-2 lead.

That was just about the extent of the good news for Kelly, which went scoreless for more than 14 minutes as Jackson put up 35 straight points to build a 37-3 lead late in the opening half.

Things went so well for the Indians, they hit buzzer-beaters to end each of the first two quarters.

McDowell fired in a 28-foot 3-pointer at the end of the first period to make it 25-3. Sophomore Connor Shepard's layup to end the second quarter made it 39-7.

"I just caught it, turned, took a dribble and threw it up," a smiling McDowell said of his long shot at the end of the opening period.

Jackson expanded its lead to 56-19 after three quarters and the entire final period was played with a running clock used when a team is ahead by at least 30 points. Kelly outscored Jackson 6-3 in the quarter.

The 6-5 Shepard led Jackson with 13 points. Blake Reynolds, a 6-7 sophomore, and 6-5 junior Karson King added 10 points apiece.

Forck paced Kelly with nine points.

Kelly34126--25
Jackson2514173--59

KELLY (25) -- Gaven Ray 4, Jerrod Lynn 2, Brent Forck 9, Josh Roberts 8, Clay Williams 2. FG 6, FT 12-14, F 9. (3-pointers: Forck 1. Fouled out: None)

JACKSON (59) -- Braxton McDowell 6, Josh Friess 2, Skyler Steele 6, Tyler Kinder 1, Karson King 10, Connor Shepard 13, Blake Reynolds 10, Brandon Lueders 4, Luke Stevens 7. FG 24, FT 6-9, F 15. (3-pointers: McDowell 2, King 2, Stevens 1. Fouled out: None)

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