Boys basketball: St. Paul hot stretch continues as year end approaches
Winners of four of its past five games, the St. Paul boys basketball team is getting into a rhythm as league play approaches. The Bucks — led by a group of seniors that includes talented senior Jaidyn Jackson — beat Jewell 90-24 on Dec. 17 before picking up a 68-45 road win over Oregon School for the Deaf two days later.
In the Jewell game, St. Paul shot 52 percent compared to 19 percent for its opponent, and all 11 Bucks who played scored. Jackson led the way with 20 points; three other players reached double figures in scoring.
St. Paul coach Todd Swan said Jewell is a young team with few players with basketball experience, so he knew they were in the process of rebuilding.
"We were able to put a fairly complete game together," Swan said. "We played well as a team and we reached our goal of getting 70 shots up. That was basically what this game was about — reaching those goals and developing the second unit."
Against Oregon School for the Deaf, the Bucks led 58-30 through three quarters before giving its bench players extra opportunities. OSD outscored St. Paul 15-10 in the final quarter, a point of emphasis for Swan in his postgame discussion with the team.
"The energy and effort wasn't really there in the fourth quarter, so we had a kind of sour feeling knowing we didn't take full advantage of the opportunity to improve," he said. "But we played a solid game and got the win."
Jackson had 19 points against OSD, supplemented by 16 from Justin Herberger and 13 from Eric Diaz. The Bucks are 6-3 overall and 4-0 in the Casco League and look ahead to home games against Vernonia and Monroe on Thursday and Friday.
"We know that both teams are solid," Swan said. "Vernonia is playing good basketball right now and Monroe has a new head coach this year who is doing things the right way."