Boys basketball: St. Paul's Jackson delivers game-winner
Two days removed from a 50-point loss to the No. 4 Santiam Wolverines, the St. Paul boys basketball team showed no hangover in pulling out the program's most exciting win this season on Friday night against the East Linn Christian Eagles.
After a tense back-and-forth road game, the Buckaroos stole a victory at the last second when junior guard Jaidyn Jackson scored the game-winning layup as time expired to give the Bucks a 56-55 win in Lebanon.
Trailing by five points in the fourth quarter, St. Paul rallied to take a two-point lead with less than 20 seconds remaining in the game. East Linn Christian came out of a timeout and scored with 8.8 seconds left, getting fouled in the process, to tie the game.
The Eagles hit the ensuing free throw to take a 55-54 lead, forcing the Buckaroos to go the length of the court to make an attempt to score the game-winning basket. The Eagles denied St. Paul's first two options — Justin Herberger and Campbell Smith — on the play, and the Bucks moved the ball to Jackson, who drove to the bucket and scored just before the game clock hit 0:00 to deliver the win.
The win helped the Bucks (12-6, 3-3 Tri-River Conference) avoid their first back-to-back losses of the season and moved the team into a tie for third with No. 9 Kennedy (9-10, 3-3) in the Tri-River standings.
Herberger led the team with a game-high 21 points to go along with six rebounds, three assists and two steals, and Holden Smith was second with 13 points and six rebounds.
The Eagles were effective in limiting St. Paul's top player — Holden Smith— to just 12 points on 4-of-20 shooting. Jackson finished the game with seven points, seven assists and three steals.
As the Buckaroos wrapped up the first half of their league schedule this season, the team continues to enjoy its best season since moving to the 2A Classification in 2015. St. Paul's win over East Linn Christian gave the team 12 victories on the season, the most wins the program has seen since 2013 when the team finished the season 12-10 overall and 7-5 in the 1A Casco League.
The Bucks were scheduled to open up the second half of their league schedule on Monday against Kennedy (results of which were unavailable at press time), followed by a home game against Central Linn (2-14, 0-6) on Friday.