By RJ Walters / For the Jackson Citizen Patriot
East Jackson’s three-quarter court press was more than three-quarters effective Monday evening, as they beat Grass Lake for the third time this season, 69-44.
The Trojans (8-13) forced 25 turnovers and limited the Warriors (3-18) to 20 percent shooting from the field to advance to Wednesday’s semifinals matchup with Vandercook Lake.
“Defensively I thought we did a nice job early. We were contesting shots and I think they had only two field goals in the first half,” East Jackson head coach Greg Zeller said.
The Trojans had a 20-point lead by the intermission after limiting Grass Lake to just a 2-for-19 shooting effort.
Zeller said his team had some other presses prepared if the Warriors were able to overcome the three-quarter-court pressure, but he never had to dip into his bag of tricks.
Grass Lake head coach Joel Cook said his team prepared heavily for the pressure, but his squad proved they are still inexperienced and learning to win.
“We’re just a young team and panicked. (My players) wouldn’t get to the right spot and we would dribble to it and get hurt,” he said.
It was big guys like Terry Calagon and Nick Borrego causing a lot of havoc on defense, with their length and intuition. Calagon had 11 rebounds and three steals while Borrego had four rebounds and altered countless shots.
Boreggo chipped in with a team-high 12 points and Calagon added eight.
“They both are so long and offensively they both look for each other so well,” Zeller said. “Part of our offense was to get the ball to them because (Grass Lake) doesn’t have anyone who can guard them.”
Tyler Riske scored 15 points, Cody Dunn added 10 and Kris Wells tallied seven points, five assists and three steals.
Keaton Burnett and K.J. Neibauer scored 11 apiece for Grass Lake, with Niebauer grabbing seven boards.
“We’ve got a lot to work on, but we only have three seniors so we’ll have a lot back,” said Cook, noting practice for next year starts Tuesday.