Jackson rallies past Blue Lions

By Paul Boggs - pboggs@aimmediamidwest.com

Washington Blue Lion junior Blaise Tayese drives against Jackson junior Cooper Donaldson during a Frontier Athletic Conference game at Jackson High School Friday, Jan. 26, 2018.

Paul Boggs | Jackson Times Journal

JACKSON — In a game of lengthy, and crazy, runs on Friday night — the Jackson Ironmen enjoyed being on the right end of the last scoring spree.

That’s because the host Ironmen, spearheaded by an incredible 21 unanswered fourth-quarter points, erased a 35-30 deficit — and ended up pulling away from Washington Court House 54-38 in a Frontier Athletic Conference boys basketball tilt.

Yes, you read that right.

Trailing 35-30 only 45 seconds into the fourth quarter, Jackson shifted into overdrive for the next six minutes and 15 seconds —and scored 21 straight points.

It was the final, and most outlandish, of pendulum swings — as the back-and-forth affair featured three other dramatic spurts, including the Ironmen pitching a second-quarter shutout after falling behind 10-0.

In the end, the Ironmen ended up with the season sweep, having won at Washington 53-50 in the initial matchup.

Jackson raised its record to 10-5 — and to 5-2 in the FAC.

The loss left the Blue Lions, who showed flashes of brilliance of their own, at 3-10 —and 1-6 in the league.

One of those flashes was in the third quarter, when Washington reversed a 22-16 deficit only 51 seconds in — and outscored the Ironmen 16-7 to lead 32-28.

The Blue Lions then led 35-30 on an Evan Upthegrove three-pointer — their largest lead since a 16-14 advantage at the five-minute mark of the second period.

But the Ironmen unleashed on both ends of the floor, hitting a pair of threes before combining with defensive deflections and steals — which resulted in layups on the offensive end.

From just 45 seconds into the fourth until only a minute remaining, the Ironmen went from being down five to up 16 (51-35).

Trevor Rarick rained in a three-ball to stop the Blue Lions’ drought, but by then, the Ironmen had already locked up the victory —which initially appeared to be wedged within the jaws of defeat.

The Red and White, after a seven-point third frame, went off for 26 points in the fourth —compared to the Blue Lions’ bookend three-pointers that spanned exactly 6:15.

Trifectas from Payton Speakman and Cooper Donaldson, sandwiched around a pair of Donaldson free throws, put the Ironmen in front 38-35 with 5:35 to play.

Donaldson, who scored 10 of his game-high 16 in the fourth, dialed in for six total field goals and 3-of-3 free throws.

Speakman scored 10, as the Ironmen —which shot 19-of-48 from the field for 40-percent —ended up with 21 points off 20 Washington turnovers.

Brice Graham scored five straight points to end the run, as Treylan Davis chipped in two baskets in the quarter — part of eight points overall.

“Just defensively, five guys buying into one simple goal…to guard the basketball, to play helpside defense, to slide in with your body and to limit them to one shot,” said Jackson coach Max Morrow. “That’s all they got was one shot, or we got a lot of deflections and turnovers that led to easy buckets. That’s how we opened this game up.”

As the Ironmen opened the lead, the Blue Lions fell further behind.

The pair of 16-point margins — 51-35 and 54-38 — were Jackson’s largest leads of the entire night.

“We had a couple of turnovers trying to run some stuff. Guys didn’t make plays, and they made some shots and got some runouts where we were out of position on defense. Then we probably gave up five or six offensive rebounds all in the fourth quarter that contributed to points,” said Washington coach Shannon Bartuff. “We’ve been making some of those mistakes all year. It’s just missed communication or missed assignments on a boxout, and we didn’t shoot the ball real well either. We had some good looks, a lot of spots at the rim where we had a chance to catch and finish and we didn’t. Against a good team, you have to take advantage of those situations.”

The Blue Lions had a chance to run the Ironmen out of the gym, as they stormed out to a 10-0 lead only two minutes and 55 seconds in.

Three of those five early baskets came off steals, as Dillon Steward — who scored seven points — scored on back-to-back layups.

The Blue Lions then led 16-8 after Blaise Tayese’s eighth point at the one-minute mark, but that would be Washington’s final point over the next 10 minutes and 52 seconds.

Jackson — after scoring the final four points of the first quarter — blanked the Blue Lions 9-0 in the second.

Its largest advantage before the Blue Lions roared back was at 22-16 on a Graham free throw just 51 seconds into the third.

“I wish I knew the answer, but we don’t start well. I’ve mentioned that multiple times. We had to use timeouts early, and Washington Court House came ready to play,” said Morrow. “They jumped out 10-0, but we just had to settle down, get our feet wet, and then get into the flow of the game.”

Carson Spohn, who scored 13 points for Jackson, jumpstarted the squad with a pair of first-quarter treys— before he made two free throws followed by back-to-back steals and layups by Speakman and Donaldson.

The Blue Lions shot just 16-of-45 overall, including only 4-of-17 from three-point range.

Upthegrove led his club with 11 points, including six in the third — as he stopped the initial scoring drought with an alley-ooop layup off a Steward assist.

Tayese tallied 11 rebounds in addition to 10 points — on four field goals and all of the Blue Lions’ free throws (2-of-3).

Rarick made a pair of threes, as Miguel O’Flaherty had a pair of baskets for four.

The Ironmen ended up 10-of-14 from the foul line, while Donaldson’s double-double featured a dozen rebounds.

* * *

Washington 16 0 16 6 — 38

Jackson 12 9 7 26 — 54


(3-10, 1-6 FAC)

Eli Lynch 0 0-0 0, Dillon Steward 3 0-0 7, Evan Upthegrove 5 0-0 11, Miguel O’Flaherty 2 0-0 4, Garitt Leisure 0 0-0 0, Blaise Tayese 4 2-3 10, Trevor Rarick 2 0-0 6; TOTALS 16 2-3 38; Three-point goals: 4 (Trevor Rarick 2, Dillon Steward and Evan Upthegrove 1 apiece)

JACKSON 54 (10-5, 5-2 FAC)

Kendall Neal 0 0-0 0, Matt Humphreys 0 0-0 0, Caleb Wallis 0 0-1 0, Payton Speakman 4 0-1 10, Carson Spohn 4 2-2 13, Blake Wyatt 0 0-0 0, Cooper Donaldson 6 3-3 16, Caden Donaldson 0 1-2 1, T.J. Burd 0 0-0 0, Treylan Davis 3 2-2 8, Brice Graham 2 2-3 6; TOTALS 19 10-14 54; Three-point goals: 6 (Carson Spohn 3, Payton Speakman 2 and Cooper Donaldson 1)

Washington Blue Lion junior Blaise Tayese drives against Jackson junior Cooper Donaldson during a Frontier Athletic Conference game at Jackson High School Friday, Jan. 26, 2018.
http://www.recordherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/27/2018/01/web1_Blaise-Tayese-vs-Jackson-1-26-2018.jpgWashington Blue Lion junior Blaise Tayese drives against Jackson junior Cooper Donaldson during a Frontier Athletic Conference game at Jackson High School Friday, Jan. 26, 2018. Paul Boggs | Jackson Times Journal

By Paul Boggs