JACKSON TWP.: Jon Perdue stepped in admirably Tuesday night to fill the position of head coach for the Jackson boys basketball team.
Perdue took over the reins from coach Tim Debevec, who was serving a one-game suspension after being ejected from Jackson’s previous game. Behind the play of three seniors and four juniors, the visiting Polar Bears walked away with a 70-54 victory over the previously undefeated Lake Blue Streaks.
Perdue enjoyed the Federal League triumph, but will gladly resume his role as assistant coach today.
“We are together so much, I think the kids are comfortable with all of the coaches,” Perdue said. “We kept the same normal routine. [Monday] at practice, he ran the show like normal. We didn’t change much. They are used to hearing me. I am constantly yelling.”
Perdue praised his players and laughed as he described taking on a bigger role.
“I think the only difference is I was standing up,” Perdue said. “I will be really happy to have Tim back because I like to sit. It was weird standing. I was constantly worried of who I was standing in front of. I am used to people standing in front of me and it drives me nuts. Now, I have a different perspective.”
The Polar Bears (8-4, 5-1) led the Blue Streaks (9-1, 5-1) for most of the game.
Junior forward David Smith led Jackson with 17 points and four rebounds. Senior guard Nick Dillon (16 points), junior guard Kyle Mottice (15 points) and junior forward Evan Bailey (11 points) also reached double figures.
“This is a big win,” said Mottice, who also had eight rebounds, five assists and three steals. “Lake was hot coming in here at 9-0. We just played like we know how.”
Jackson displayed impressive ball-handling and passing throughout the game.
“That was a total team effort,” Perdue said. “We got balanced scoring. That is what we have preached all year to start sharing the ball and move the ball, and the guys did that. I think Lake is focused. They were hounding Bailey. Evan only had 11 [points], but he played a great floor game [with eight rebounds and four assists] and the other guys stepped up and scored.
“That is what great players do; they draw the defense and the other guys stepped up and hit shots. David Smith, I know he hit a couple of threes and we had seven threes as a team. That is what we do. We have got to knock down threes, move the ball and play together. I thought Kyle Mottice did a great job orchestrating things and Nick Dillon played a heck of a game, getting to the rim.”
Jackson senior reserves Jake Vassas and Kyle Johnson combined for seven points.
“A couple of things we definitely tried to stress was, long shots are going be long rebounds,” Lake coach Tom McBride said, “and I thought we got beat during a long stretch there between the middle of the first quarter through probably the middle of the second quarter with some offensive rebounding by Jackson.
“They outhustled us on the rebounds in the first half. I thought they were a step quicker and a step more aggressive than us all night long.”
Junior forward Mitchell Spotleson paced Lake with 21 points, six rebounds and five blocks. Junior forward Alex Belinsky had 16 points and eight rebounds.
Perdue said Jackson played its seventh game of the season without starting senior guard Miles Griffin, who will miss the rest of the season following a knee injury.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.