Jackson, LHS boys on a roll
Lions place fifth at Tonganoxie Invitational Tournament, have won four of last five
Tonganoxie There's no doubt in Rod Briggs' mind why the Lansing High boys basketball team dominated Jefferson County West on Saturday.
Lansing's first-year coach said Jackson, the team's lone senior, was the difference maker during a 49-33 victory in the fifth-place game of the Tonganoxie Invitational Tournament.
"That's the first time I've seen the Jeff that I thought I'd see," Briggs said. "Now if we can get that consistently from him : he scored, he got some rebounds, he defended their best player the whole game. I think we're finally drawing out some of his talent, and we saw that tonight."
Jackson scored a game-high 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the victory. Most important, however, was his defensive work against Jeff West 6-foot-6 junior Tom Shirley. Shirley entered the game averaging 27 points and 15 rebounds per game in the tournament. Against Lansing he had just five points and 13 boards.
Jackson said he was most proud of the Lions' defensive performance.
"We knew we had to stop him, so that's what we came out and did," Jackson said. "The whole team clamped down on defense, and that really helped."
With Shirley contained, the pressure was on Jeff West's other players to produce on offense. Lansing made sure that didn't happen, especially when the game was on the line.
The most critical stretch of the game was evidence of just how good the Lions' defense was. Leading 27-25 with 4:07 left in the third quarter, they didn't allow a field goal for the final 12:07 of the game. They closed the game on a 22-7 run. The Tigers' seven points all came on free throws.
"Wow," Briggs said when informed of that statistic. "We played really good defense tonight. That's what we emphasized, and the kids followed through. I think they're starting to finally buy into the fact that on the defensive end of the floor we're giving up very few points. (Jeff West) came in averaging 58 points a game and they scored 33. It wasn't really that we slowed the tempo too much either, because we got up and down the floor pretty good today."
Statistically speaking, Lansing was the top defensive team in the tournament. It gave up just 119 points in three games for an average of less than 40 per game. The next closest were tournament champion Atchison (129 points allowed) and Jeff West (156).
In addition to Jackson's big game, the Lions were bolstered by a breakthrough performance from junior Bobby Hauver. The reserve guard scored six points, had four steals and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. Sophomore Curtis Beall added 12 points.
Lansing (4-7) next plays at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Bonner Springs.