BOTKINS — The Botkins Trojans came ready to play in their 57-43 Shelby County League varsity boys basketball loss to Jackson Center on Friday night at Botkins High School.
The effort was there. The Trojans had a great game plan.
Simply put, the Tigers are just that good.
Botkins stayed close on the boards, losing them by only a 28-27 tote, and only turned the ball over nine times, but it wasn’t enough.
The Tigers answered by converting 14 of their 19 field goals with an assist and only turned the ball over eight times in the win.
The Trojans threw everything but the kitchen sink at Jackson Center, and time and time the Tigers answered.
Each time Botkins tried to creep back in the game, Jackson Center hit a big shot. Every time the game changed tempo, the Tigers maintained their lead. They showed why they are one of the favorite for the 2011-2012 SCL championship.
“That is one of this team’s biggest advantages,” Jackson Center varsity coach Scott Elchert said. “We can play at any pace and still win games. We knew Botkins would come after us. We met the challenge.”
Tyler Egbert scored from in the post at the halfway mark in the first period, but Eric Ryder countered seconds later with a base line jumper that put the Tigers ahead to stay. That shot kicked off a 16-4 run and the Tigers managed to keep a lead hovering around the 10 point mark the rest of the game.
Heath Geyer’s jumper brought the Trojans as close as nine early in the fourth period, but Andy Hoying scored from the paint and then Alex Meyer hit a pair of free throws to make it 46-33. The Tigers managed to seal the game with free throw shooting the rest of the way.
Brett Meyer said that his team isn’t into moral victories, but that his team showed they can compete, as showed in their performance,
“We had a stretch there in the second quarter where they bumped it up,” Meyer said. “We missed a couple of easy shots and they pushed up the lead on us. We couldn’t catch up. We are not into moral victories, but we didn’t roll over for them.”
Trey Elchert was deadly from the floor, hitting seven of his 10 shots and four-of-six from three point range. Three of those long distance shots came from well behind the arc, giving the Trojan defense fits at times.
“There are some kids out there who will make it from out where he was,” Meyer said. Defensively, you have to respect that he is going to make the shot. You have to make him go to the floor first.
Josh Schwartz led the Trojans in both points (16) and assists (4). Tyler Egbert did a good job chasing down loose balls to lead the team with seven rebounds. Heath Geyer added 12 points.
For the Tigers, Elchert had a game high with 19 points. Hoying had 12 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
The Trojans fall to 3-2 on the year while Jackson Center remains undefeated at 5-0. The Trojans travel to Minster on Friday and the Tigers travel to Indian Lake.