University Heights Academy knew playing against size was going to be an issue for them and Lyon County’s Jackson Shoulders proved to be the catalyst in the Lyons’ 79-77 win over the Blazers in the All “A” Second Region Tournament.
While Travis Perry did what Travis Perry does, scoring 27 points and tossing 10 dimes, Shoulders was the difference-maker.
The junior attacked the basket using his size to exploit UHA’s weakness, pouring in a game-high 28 points and 14 rebounds to help push the Lyons into the All “A” Second Region Championship on Saturday night.
Blazers head coach Grant Shouse said Shoulders was getting too deep in the post, making it easy for him to capitalize on the size mismatch he had on the Blazers.
“I think where he was getting the ball was a big part of it,” he said. “We weren’t putting enough pressure on him. At times we were pressuring the ball well but we weren’t pressuring the passer enough. With that post entry, you have to be able to put pressure on the ball and we weren’t getting enough pressure on the ball at times. He’d get the ball and make some good plays on the inside.”
The two teams fought wire-to-wire, as UHA was looking for yet another trip to the All “A” State Tournament and Lyon County is looking for their first All “A” Second Region crown since 2009.
“We knew coming in it was going to be a battle from the start,” Shouse said. “I don’t think we disrupted them enough offensively. I think they were able into some rhythms which hurt us. We couldn’t handle the big dude. (Jackson) Shoulders was a load on the inside. … We left some shots on the rim, we left some free throws out there. I thought we had a great defensive stop on the last possession but couldn’t get a five-count. We’ll be back. We’ve got a lot to play for.”
Tied at 77, instead of taking the final shot, drove the lane and dished it off to Nick Whalin on the baseline and scored to give the Lyons the two-point lead with 2.7 seconds left in the game.
KJ Crump fell just short on the half-court heave to win the game, sending Lyon County to the championship game.
Crump was one of four scorers in double figures for the Blazers in the loss, leading the way with 19 points. DJ Quarles (18), Will Bryan (17) and Amani McGee (15) all also scored in double figures.
Shouse said he told his players to keep pushing forward following the game.
“Just keep our heads up,” he said. “We laid it all on the line and that’s life. Sometimes the ball doesn’t always go your way and that’s part of it. I’m proud of their effort, we just got to keep playing and get ready for the next game.”
The Blazers fall to 1-3 on the year with the loss and Shouse said he plans on scheduling more games later this week to get some more minutes in for his players.
“I think they’re used to it,” Shouse said. “I think they’re used to us putting a schedule together that puts them in some places where they want to be seen. We do that every year. We’re going to find some games this weekend and we’re just going to roll with it.”
LYON COUNTY 79, UHA 77
UHA 19 20 19 19 — 77
LC 18 26 21 14 — 79
UHA: KJ Crump — 19, DJ Quarles — 18, Will Bryan — 17, Amani McGee — 15, Gavin Grubbs — 8
LC: Jackson Shoulders — 28, Travis Perry — 27, Nick Whalin — 9, Gunnar Bingham — 6, Jack Reddick — 4, Brady Shoulders — 3, Luke Gilbert — 2