(Photo by Josh Mills, Staff)
CHARLESTON -- The balance of power never swayed towards the Jackson Indians Tuesday evening, as they strolled into Charleston expecting a major victory, but instead were handed a 15 point loss, 63-48, at the hands of the Bluejays.
Jackson, one of the hottest teams in recent weeks, took it's second loss of the season from Charleston, as the Bluejays' last contest with the Indians was a victory in the finals of the SEMO Conference Tournament, 63-56. With the win, Charleston improves its record to 14-7.
It was evident from tip-off that the Bluejays' focus was going to be on causing mass confusion to the guards of Jackson and putting intense pressure on the ball at all times. From opening tip until final buzzer, Charleston's plan was executed to near-perfection, as the defense of Antonio Riggens and Marquez Ware combined, held the Indians' leading scorer Jake Leet to just 13 points in the game, with only one 3-pointer.
The Bluejays opened the contest up with an 8-0 run, and from the beginning it was obvious that the home-team was going to make Jackson try to keep up with their brisk pace.
A quick time-out from head coach Darrin Scott on the Indians' bench, and Jackson began to chip away at the lead.
The eight point lead slipped down to just three points going into the second quarter, 18-15.
In the second quarter, the tempo slowed down on both ends of the floor, as Charleston outscored the Indians 12-8, heading into halftime with a 30-23 lead.
At the break, Jackson's big man Hunter Grantham had recorded seven field goals for 14 points. Following the break, Grantham remained scoreless until the final buzzer, thanks in part to the Bluejays' Brian Parham.
"Brian (Parham) played well against Grantham the first time (we played them)," said Charleston head coach Danny Farmer. "He played well again tonight."
The third quarter was tight with each team scoring 11 points apiece, as the Bluejays took a 41-34 lead into the final quarter of play.
In the fourth quarter, Charleston left Jackson feeling the blues, as Parham and Fred Pratt put on a clinic, pouring in 14 of the Bluejays 22 points. The Indians had no match, as they could only muster up 14 points, leaving the home-
team the victory 63-48.
Parham said that he battled illness in the first half, and thought that in the second half, he and his teammates stepped up their play.
It was clear that Parham elevated his game, as he battled Grantham down low, holding Grantham scoreless while he tallied up 14 points of his own, as he finished with 24 points in the game.
"Grantham was playing me pretty hard," said Parham. "I just had to get some open looks and hit my shots."
Behind Parham in scoring for Charleston, was Pratt with 13 points. Donald Dixon finished with nine points and Riggens had eight.
"We wanted to put full-court pressure on them," said Farmer. "We wanted them to play a fast-pace game, because that's how we beat them the last time we played them. We did it for the whole game--I didn't realize we could do it for the whole game. It was pretty sweet."
"I thought the whole team played great," he added. "Dixon normally does a lot for us, and he never really got (going). He was in foul trouble the whole game, and the other team picked it up."
The Bluejays head to Doniphan Friday evening for a match-up with the Dons.