The Jackson High School boys basketball team seemed to take its opponent for granted at times Friday night, but the Vikings’ muscle inside and solid zone defense helped push their winning streak to three games with a 59-46 win over Lansing Everett.
John White posted a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Conrad Herring totaled 14 points and four blocks to help Jackson (4-5 overall, 2-2 Capital Area Activities Conference Blue Division) overcome 19 turnovers caused by an erratic transition offense.
“I felt like we might have gone in looking at their record and probably taken them for granted a little bit. But that’s typical of teenagers,” Jackson coach Ramsey Nichols said. “I did see some good things. We did go inside like I thought we were capable of, and we took advantage of that.”
Jackson jumped out to a 15-4 lead after one quarter, but Everett (2-7, 1-1) guard Jaleel Canty scored eight of his team-high 14 points in the second quarter to bring Everett within 32-25 at the half.
Jackson guard Chavon Watts, who finished with nine points and six rebounds, said he and his teammates were confident going in, but they lost their focus after getting out to a double-digit lead.
“We had a little wake-up call from our coach, and he said a few things and our leaders had to tell the other players to get it together,” he said. “He told us if we don’t get it together we will get it at practice, so we had to stick to it and play hard, because we know Coach means it.”
It took a few minutes — as Everett closed within three points midway through the third quarter — but Jackson broke open the contest with a 15-4 run that showcased its speed and team chemistry.
Jackson finished with 14 assists on 22 field goals. Jeremy Williamson added eight points, while Tyler Oliver pitched in six.
“When you’re playing a team that scrappy and who is as small as you are, you realize it’s just going to be like that sometimes and you just have to accept that,” Nichols said of his team’s high-risk, high-reward style of play. “You emphasize to your team just to be under control as much as possible.”
He said he’s pleased with his team’s growth on the glass and defensively, but mentally they need to “sharpen up” for games against conference foes Okemos and Grand Ledge next week.
As published in the Jan. 22 Jackson Citizen Patriot