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Jackson boys basketball team breaks late tie, beats New Madrid
NEW MADRID, Mo. -- New Madrid County Central opened the game nearly lifeless and fell behind big because of it.
They eventually made a run late in the fourth quarter with their season's hero, Willie Jimerson, who's been battling flu-like symptoms for the past few days no less, leading the charge.
The pieces were falling into place for one of the most dramatic come-from-behind wins in recent memory for the Eagles.
That's when Jackson's Blake Reynolds ended the Eagles' comeback.
Behind his game-winning bucket and a game-leading 27 points, Reynolds dashed NMCC's hopes at the last second during a 53-51 Jackson win at New Madrid County Central High School Friday night.
"[Reynolds] was actually one guy I wasn't happy with at the beginning of the game," Jackson coach Darrin Scott said. "He sat down, went back in and really responded well to that. He played the rest of the game. In the second half, he was big. He got the big rebound and stick-back, which was huge. He played very well after the start."
Jimerson scored 18 points to pace NMCC despite showing the effects of being under the weather. The sophomore, who is averaging 24 points per game, wasn't as sharp as he had been, scoring two points in the first half and looking fatigued at times.
"He's not 100 percent," New Madrid coach Travis Day said about Jimerson, "but that's no excuse for our effort to start the game. We were so flat in the first half. Even with Willie under the weather, we still have to compete. I'm more frustrated about how we competed than the loss."
During the fourth quarter, Jimerson shook off any kind of illness he may have been facing and sparked his team's late push.
NMCC entered the fourth quarter down by 14 points and fell by as much as 16 early in the frame.
With 2:01 remaining in the game, Jimerson sank two free throws to pull his team to within eight (51-43). Just 16 seconds later, he drilled a 3-pointer that sent the homecoming crowd into a frenzy. Moments later, Jashawn McDaniel hit another 3-pointer cutting Jackson's lead to just two with 50.3 seconds left.
"We showed what type of team we can be," Day said. "When we play like we should with the effort we demand, you see what we're capable of."
After a few timeouts by both sides, Jackson (15-9) inbounded the ball and tried to run off as much time as they could until Braxton McDowell found himself caught inside a NMCC trap with nowhere to go.
Jimerson, who scored 11 points in the fourth quarter alone, ripped the ball away from McDowell and sprinted down the court for an uncontested layup to tie the game at 51-51 with 12.9 seconds remaining.
After a timeout, Jackson missed on a hurried a 3-pointer that caught the front of the rim. Reynolds gathered the rebound and quickly banked in a go-ahead layup while being fouled.
"In a 10-point game, late, is just three possessions," Scott said. "They hit a few 3s and knock down free throws, it's a game again. What happened was we missed a few free throws, lost a bit of our composure and they ratcheted up their pressure. But, at the same time, we made some plays to win the game."
Reynolds missed his free throw with 6.6 seconds left, and NMCC's Devon Harrell came down with the rebound and was fouled.
Harrell, who could have tied the game, missed both his free throws.
Jackson secured the rebound after the second miss and ran out the remaining few seconds for the win.
The Eagles scored just three points in the second quarter and trailed 30-14 at halftime.
"Coming out flat to a good team, I don't care who they are, you're going to get beat," said Day. "We played with no energy all night long until the last three minutes of the game. We stood on offense, didn't attack and never tried to look inside. We were acting like that was the first zone we've ever seen."
That was the plan according to Scott.
"We knew the game was going to be won in the paint," Scott said. "If they were going to beat us it was going to have to be from the perimeter. [Jimerson], and really most of their guards, we were going to have trouble keeping them in front of us."
Reynolds scored 17 of his game-high in the fourth quarter. Brandon Lueders and Karson King added 11 and 10 for the Indians.
Darrin McGloson chipped in 10 points for NMCC. The 6-4 sophomore scored seven of NMCC's 14 points in the first half.
JACKSON (53) -- Josh Daume 1, Calvin Lysell 4, Braden Wendel 2, Karson King 10, Blake Reynolds 27, Brandon Lueders 13, Luke Stevens 2. FG 21, FT 12-27, F 16. (3-pointers: Reynolds. Fouled out: Stevens)
NEW MADRID COUNTY CENTRAL (51) -- Willie Jimmerson 18, Armondo Thatch 9, Mikeal Walker 2, Jashawn McDaniel 7, Delontre Haney 4, Devon Harrell 1, Darrin McGloson 10.
JV -- Jackson won 55-53.