By Mike Moore (Photo By Ryan Kerwin, JTV Sports)
Jackson — In 21 games last winter, the East Jackson boys basketball team managed a total of seven wins.
An up-and-coming team without many seniors, but still with some veteran leadership expected more.
In 10 games this winter, the Trojans entered Wednesday night’s home tilt with Grass Lake with nine wins.
An established team with a roster full of seniors and experience, well, things are going almost exactly as coach Rodney Lowden had hoped.
“When the season started, I think we felt we had a chance to win every game we played in,” Lowden said. “At the same time, these guys understand what it takes, and understand any team we play could beat us.”
But entering Wednesday, only one had.
And as Wednesday night played out, it became very apparent why that has been the case.
Leading by just a single point, 17-16, after the first quarter, East Jackson shifted into high gear.
Quick passing. Defensive stops. Solid shots and hustle plays.
Before halftime the lead was up to 15.
By the time the night was out the Trojans were 10-1 thanks to an 86-65 victory.
“We have a very experienced team, which is so huge,” Lowden said. “We have three or four guys with three or four years experience, and that helps a ton. Guys are comfortable in big games. They understand what has to happen. And there’s nothing better than senior leadership. There’s consistency that you can’t teach.”
That consistency showed up again Wednesday, as leading scorer Daniel Poole found his stroke and finished the game with 25 points.
Austin Jackson (14), Zach Seymour (12), David Major (10) and Collin Blough (10) all scored in double figures as well.
The Trojans aren’t one dimensional, either, giving up just 50 points per game.
“We’re just more active on the defensive end,” Lowden said. “We’re playing better as a team on the defensive end. I think there’s more commitment to be better.”
So now, as East Jackson goes for its first conference title since 2013, the focus is centered on the second half of the season.
“The consistency is where we focus,” Lowden said. “That’s a big part of what we do. If we’re able to keep doing that, in the conference we have, it’s going to be a battle. Every night we have to show up and come ready to go. We have to keep that edge.”
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