The Jackson Indians cruised through the first two rounds of the SEMO Tournament, taking out Sikeston and Charleston, but they fell in the Finals to an undefeated Cape Central team. The 53-33 loss in the finale was Jackson’s first on the season, and will likely have them charged up in their next contest.
There wasn’t much to write home about in the first game of the tournament on Tuesday, as the Indians were streaking from the jump. Jackson poured in 23 points in the first quarter and held the Bulldogs to a mere six, before winning the second quarter battle 15-13. That made the score 28-19 at the half with the Indians firmly in charge.
The second half wouldn’t be any kinder to Sikeston, with the Indians rattling off a game-high 23 in the third against the Bulldogs’ 17. They wrapped up the game with a dominating fourth that saw Jackson win the battle 18-5 for a 79-41 victory. As a team they shot over 66% from the floor and nearly 32% from beyond the arc, collecting 19 points off of turnovers.
Besides being the tallest player on the court, Clayton Ernst was the leading scorer with a cool 20 points and had 10 rebounds to complete the double-double. Judd Thoma was next in line with 16 and Gavin Holdman had 14 to round out the top three scorers.
That win sent the Indians into the Semifinals where they would take on the Charleston Blue Jays, and this game started out much like the first one. Jackson drained 16 points in the first quarter and doubled up their opponents. They then exploded for the biggest quarter of the game in the second with 27 and held the Blue Jays to 16 in the high-flying frame.
That gave the Tribe a 43-24 lead at the break, but this Jackson team was far from done. They won every quarter on the day, and pretty much wrapped up the game with a 20-17 third. The 18-12 fourth certainly didn’t hurt though, as they “hung on” for the 81-53 victory and a trip to the SEMO Finals.
Ernst was a big impact again with 23 points and also had eight rebounds, but Blayne Harris had a game-high 28 points to pace all of the scorers. Thoma had a great game as well with 19 points, ten boards and a team-high six assists to nab the team’s only double-double.
The finale would not be quite as fortuitous as the games leading up to it though. The Indians had to face a loaded, undefeated Cape Central squad, and the Tigers brought their A-game in this one. The first quarter was tight, but Cape had the better end of the stick with a 16-12 advantage. Things didn’t get any easier in the second either, as Central eked out 11 to Jackson’s seven in the defensive battle.
After the 27-19 first half, Central kept chipping away. They bested the Indians 14-12 in the third before slamming the door with a 12-2 fourth quarter. The game ended at 53-33 and, while both teams had to be proud of their respective defensive efforts, the Tigers just got it done in this one.
Ernst led the way for the Tribe amidst their offensive struggles with 13 points. He was the only player for the Indians in double figures as Thoma and Harris rounded out the top three scorers with six apiece.
It was a solid final effort in what would be an overall successful tournament for Jackson, but they’ll look to get back to their winning ways this week as they travel to take on Dexter on Tuesday, 12/13.