The full-court trapping press has been good to the Jacksonville College Jaguars throughout the past three seasons and it was nifty, once again, Saturday night when the Jaguars earned their first Region XIV victory of the season by outlasting Panola College, 72-67, at the Curtis Carroll Fieldhouse.
The JC press was the main reason the Ponies (8-7, 2-3 Region XIV) turned the ball over 16 times in the first half alone — 21 in the game.
“It was only the second time that we have pressed this year,” JC head coach Jody Bailey said. “We have had injuries and illness and have just not had the proper personnel to be able to effectively press up until now. Thankfully, we are getting some kids back at the right time.
“Anyone who has followed Jacksonville College basketball over the past three years knows what we are capable of doing when we press. We were not perfect in our execution tonight and we have some things to work on, but I thought our kids played hard and played with 40 minutes of intensity and I think that helped wear them (Panola) down some late in the game.”
JC led 38-36 at halftime, with the Ponies owning just one lead (51-50 with just over 12:00 left in the game) in the final 20 minutes.
The Jags took the lead for good with 4:53 to go in the contest when Anthony Sharp dropped in a mid-range bucket that made the score 60-58.
JC's Chris Campbell, a Houston sophomore, was the game's leading scorer with 22 points.
Raheem Watts came in off the bench to give the Jags a lift by adding 12 points, followed by Sharp with eight.
Johnathan Hamilton paced JC (6-9, 1-4) in rebounding with a dozen and also kicked in six points.
With Bailey substituting in waves of five for much of the game, the Jag reserves were able to outscore their Pony counterparts, 30-16.
“If you are pressing a lot, you have to keep fresh players out on the court,” Bailey said. “When we went to our bench our reserves delivered and there was no let up.”
Brandon Herman chalked up a double-double (14 points, 12 rebounds) for the Ponies, as did Josh Morris who dumped in 12 points to go along with 15 caroms.
JC will be back in action at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday when they take on Paris Junior College at the Hunt Center.