Jackson boys basketball team wins fourth straight

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Following a slow start to the season, things are quickly rounding into shape for the Jackson boys basketball team.

The Indians followed Friday night's thrilling 53-51 win at New Madrid County Central with another strong effort Saturday, defeating Poplar Bluff 71-58 behind Blake Reynolds' 25 points.

And while it may not have been a masterpiece, Jackson coach Darrin Scott will take it. His Indians fought through fatigue and questionable officiating to win an extremely physical game, their fourth straight victory.

"The thing I was most proud of was our toughness," Scott said after the Indians improved to 16-9. "Just handling the physicalness of the game, fighting through things that didn't go well. If we weren't doing that, there was no way we're competing and winning that game."

It helped that Poplar Bluff (14-7) was coming off a heart-breaking 53-51 loss to Notre Dame the night before. The Mules were visibly fatigued in the second half, and the Indians took full advantage.

Poplar Bluffs’ Brandon Stuckenschneider, left, and Logan Keeney battle Jackson’s Brandon Lueders for a rebound during the Mules’ 71-58 loss to the Indians Saturday at Jackson High School. (ADAM VOGLER)

Reynolds and Karson King (15 points) virtually had their way in the paint, and point guard Josh Daume, in his fifth game back from a stress fracture, scored 15 points and effectively distributed the ball both in Jackson's half-court offense and on the break.

"We're finally playing some solid basketball," said Daume, who had three 3-pointers among his 15 points. "But we still have some work to do."

It was a tough, physical contest from the outset that threatened to get out of hand on several occasions. But credit both the Mules and Indians with not allowing the physical nature of the game dictate the tempo. Both teams looked to run, and did so successfully throughout a first half that ended with Jackson leading 35-31.

The Mules closed to within 41-40 before King hit one of two free throws, then scored on a layup following a missed free throw to push the lead back to four points at 44-40. After three periods, Jackson led 51-48.

"That's the toughest thing, when you play a physical team, it's a challenge," Daume said. "This year we've been better at keeping our composure."

Jackson’s Josh Daume drives around Poplar Bluff’s Lance Gray during the Indians’ 71-58 win over the Mules on Saturday at Jackson High School. (ADAM VOGLER)

That was key as the Indians continued doing in the final period what was successful early on: hitting the boards and using their transition game. Jackson went on a 9-2 run to open the final quarter as Daume canned a pair of 3-pointers and King converted a conventional three-point play to push the lead to 62-50.

"They're a big team, huge," said Mules coach Will Durden. "They really pounded the ball inside, more this game than they did the first time. Their big guys ran the floor well.

"One of them even stepped out and hit a 3-pointer. That's tough to defend."

A 7-1 run by the Mules made it 63-57 following Ryan Brittingham's 3-pointer at the 2:50 mark, but the Mules missed their final eight shots from the field while the Indians put the game away at the free throw line, converting 4 of 6 over the final two minutes.

"We took advantage of it today," Scott said of Jackson's ability to run the floor and get some easy layups. "In the first and second quarters (Poplar Bluff) crashed five guys to the boards, and then they tried to take away our outlet passes and get some steals off that. We had to get an outlet up the floor and beat them down the floor. When we did that, we took away some of their aggressiveness."

Durden admitted that was a key to the game.

"We didn't get back [on defense] at all tonight," Durden said. "Their big guys outran our big guys."

When the Mules were successful in stopping Jackson's running game, the Indians were content to get the ball inside where Reynolds, King and Brandon Lueders (seven points) dominated.

"We really take pride in controlling the paint," King said. "We've got some good bigs that can score around the basket and rebound. And we like to run."

Poplar Bluff20111710--58

POPLAR BLUFF (58) -- D'Marcus Patterson 7, Joseph Eyler 9, Lucas Tibbs 4, Ryan Brittingham 6, Stacy Gipson 5, Brandon Stuckenschneider 12, Chris Stocks 9, Lance Gray 6. FG: 24, FT: 6-14, F: 21. (3-pointers: Brittingham 2, Eyler 1, Stuckenschneider 1. Fouled out: Eyler)

JACKSON (71) -- Josh Daume 15, Braxton McDowell 9, Karson King 15, Blake Reynolds 25, Brandon Lueders 7. FG: 23, FT: 17-24, F: 15. (3-pointers: Daume 3, McDowell 3, King 1, Lauders 1. Fouled out: none)

JV -- Poplar Bluff won 53-44.

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