Not what Dr. Naismith had in mind, probably. But after a slow start Jackson Center caught fire after the ‘banks’ had closed…a banked three-pointer from Macy Klopfenstein igniting a 11-1 second quarter run that eventually became a 41-25 Jackson Center win.
By Rob Hemmelgarn for Press Pros
It wasn’t necessarily pretty, refined, or graceful.
But this time of year teams rarely are, and for the Jackson Center Tigers they didn’t need it to be a work of art Thursday night after pummeling league-foe Botkins by a final of 41-25.
The Shelby County Athletic League victory went a long way in rinsing some of the bad taste from head coach Tiffany Brown’s mouth after their league setback on Tuesday night to the Anna Rockets. Brown cut to the chase when describing that loss: “Against Anna we played really bad and we knew today was going to be a matter of which of our teams was going to show up,” she pointed out. “We missed several easy shots in the first period tonight, but we kept on and finally the buckets began to fall for us.”
For the Tigers (3-1, 2-1), it was all about the second quarter and the onset of the third quarter, where they methodically wore down and frustrated the Trojans with aggressive defense and simply too much height and strength in the paint. The first eight minutes of the battle was dominated by turnovers and physical play on both ends of the floor, whistles on seemingly every other possession, and a pace that made you wonder how either team would have enough left in the tank by the end of regulation.
By the time the end of the stanza rolled around, the Tigers clung to a one point lead, 6-5.
But in the second quarter Jackson Center blended perimeter work with pounding it inside. But it was a banked-in long ball from senior Macy Klopfenstein that lit the proverbial fuse and pushed the home team to eight of the next nine points in the period as they trotted to the locker room with a 17-6 command in tow.
Botkins only point of the period came from the free throw line as they missed all eight shots they took from the floor. “Defense is always our focal point in practice, so having that intensity defensively tonight, especially in the second quarter, really helped our offense to find their groove,” Brown explained.
Refusing a repeat of their offensive woes in the second quarter, the Trojans opened the second half with a three-pointer from senior Janel Platfoot to cut her teams’ deficit to eight points. But from there it was all Orange and Black, in particular it was all junior McKinley Reichert over the next two minutes.
The two-time All-SCAL selection scored six straight points on old-fashioned three-point plays and for good measure, dropped in an easy lay up to push her team in front 23-9. Not wanting to miss out on the fun, junior Presley Reese chipped in an 18-footer and a pair of free throws to give her team their biggest edge of the night, 28-9.
“McKinley is averaging about 16 points each time out so far this season, but it took a little bit for her buckets to fall in her favor tonight,” Brown commented. “The others really stepped though – we all play for one another and tonight was one of those performances where we did that.”
As the contest rolled to a conclusion, Jackson Center pumped the brakes and worked the perimeter, playing keep-away for the final three minutes and eventually coasting to the 16-point victory.
Reichert and Reese combined for 26 points on the evening to pace the way for the Tigers, who will now have a week off before duking it out with the Fort Loramie Redskins next week on Thursday.
“We need to get back to work tomorrow and get better at keeping our composure on traps and make better decisions,” Brown concluded. “We pushed the ball up the floor much better tonight than we did on Tuesday, so that was good to see and definitely something that will need to continue. It wasn’t always pretty tonight, but it was good to come away with a victory.”
Brown knows the Tigers will be in for a battle the next time they take the floor, but for tonight, a win is a win, even if it wasn’t gorgeous.