The Jackson Ironmen made the trip up US 35 to Washington High School to take on the Blue Lions in the first meeting of the two teams as members of the Frontier Athletic Conference Friday night.
In what was a very close game throughout, Jackson pulled out the victory in the final moments, 53-50.
Jackson improves to 5-1 overall, 3-0 in the FAC.
The Blue Lions are now 1-3 overall, 0-3 in the FAC.
Though they didn’t have too many, turnovers were costly to the Blue Lions on this night.
After unofficially committing just two turnovers in the first half, the Blue Lions had 10 in the second half, including two in the final 1:47 that led to four points for Jackson, lifting the Ironmen to the victory.
Jackson junior Cooper Donaldson was the game’s leading scorer with 14 points.
Senior Payton Speakman scored 12 for Jackson and sophomore Caden Donaldson had 11.
For the Blue Lions, junior Dillon Steward led with 13 points.
Junior Evan Upthegrove scored 11 and junior Ross Matthews Jr. hit three three-point field goals for nine points.
“Coming into a new gym that we’ve never played in, it’s a new environment for our guys,” Jackson head coach Max Morrow said. “The band was great, the crowd was great and our kids just found a way to get some stops down the stretch.
“The guys kept telling me in the timeouts, ‘we’re going to find a way, we’re going to find a way,’” Morrow said. “We have a lot of heart, defensively. We got on the floor. We talk about getting to the 50/50 balls. First to the floor usually wins.
“I commend Shannon (Washington head coach Bartruff) and his guys,” Morrow said. “They played a great game, too. We found a way to win. I can’t be more excited about my guys, especially the week we’ve had, at Hillsboro and at Washington Court House. To find a way to win it, basically at the buzzer.”
“The difference in the game was our turnovers in the second half,” Bartruff said. “When you’re in a tie ball game going into the fourth quarter and you turn the ball over five times, the fact that we were tied there late, was kind of surprising.
“We had just a couple of defensive breakdowns there coming down the stretch,” Bartruff said. “We gave up a couple of offensive rebounds. Then we had a couple of killer turnovers at crucial situations where we don’t even get shots off and we’re tied or we have the lead.
“We have to do a better job of playing with a lead,” Bartruff said. “Even if it’s a one-possession lead. We took a lot of hurried, undisciplined shots. When we move the ball, we’re tough to guard. When we don’t move the ball and we just play one-on-one, we allow teams to load up the paint. Once we get the ball moving and we make defenses shift from one side of the floor to the other, and then back again, it makes it much more difficult to guard us. But, we didn’t do that in the second half.”
The Blue Lions constructed an 18-9 lead through the first seven minutes of the ball game.
A bucket by Jackson put the score at 18-11 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter was the difference in the game, as Jackson outscored Washington, 19-9.
After hitting 7 of 11 from the field in the first quarter, Washington cooled off for just 2 of 8 from the floor in the second quarter.
Jackson hit 4 of 12 shots in the first quarter and made 8 of 15 in the second.
The lead changed hands three times in the second quarter until, at the half, Jackson was on top, 30-27.
Both teams scored 23 points in the second half.
Washington outscored Jackson, 13-10 in the third quarter to knot the score, 40-40.
The Blue Lions held a 50-46 lead with 2:31 to play in the game.
Jackson made two free throws to cut the margin to 50-48.
Washington had the first of three costly late turnovers, leading to one free throw made by Jackson with 2:14 to play.
Both teams missed on their next respective offensive possession.
Again, Washington suffered a turnover and following a timeout, Jackson scored to make it 51-50 with 1:20 remaining.
Trailing by just one point, Washington had the ball with over one minute to go.
The Blue Lions took a shot and missed, but got the offensive rebound.
Washington called for a time out with 49 seconds to play.
The Blue Lions turned the ball over again, leading to a layup for Jackson with 18 seconds on the game clock.
Washington got a shot off that would have sent the game to overtime, but the shot was no good, leaving the Ironmen with the 53-50 victory.
Jackson will be back in action with a home game against Miami Trace Tuesday. The Ironmen will host Chillicothe Saturday, Dec. 23.
The Blue Lions return to FAC play Tuesday at McClain High School.
Washington will play at Miami Trace Saturday, Dec. 23.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
W 18 9 13 10 — 50
J 11 19 10 13 — 53
WASHINGTON — Eli Lynch 0-0-0; Dillon Steward 6-1-13; Evan Upthegrove 2 (1)-4-11; Ross Matthews Jr. 0 (3)-0-9; Miguel O’Flaherty 1-0-2; Garitt Leisure 1 (1)-2-7; Blaise Tayese 2-2-6; Trevor Rarick 1-0-2. TOTALS — 13 (5)-9-50. Free throw shooting: 9 of 15 for 60 percent. Three-point field goals: Matthews Jr., 3; Upthegrove, Leisure. Field goal shooting: 18 of 34 for 53 percent. Turnovers: 12.
JACKSON — Kendall Neal 1-0-2; Caleb Wallis 1-2-4; Payton Speakman 2 (2)-2-12; Carson Spohn 1 (1)-0-5; Cooper Donaldson 6-2-14; Caden Donaldson 5-1-11; Traylon Davis 2-1-5; Brice Graham 0-0-0. TOTALS — 18 (3)-8-53. Free throw shooting: 8 of 13 for 62 percent. Three-point field goals: Speakman, 2; Spohn. Field goal shooting: 21 of 48 for 44 percent. Turnovers: 9.