By Mike Moore
Jackson — A home-town eruption for the first time all night was in full force.
Bleachers rocked and energy soared moments after Rarshiem Owens drilled a 3-pointer from the wing and a 16-point deficit had evaporated to just one.
It was a scene of bedlam at Jackson High Friday night, showing just how good this Vikings team can be, and just how frustrating this eventual four-point loss to Grand Ledge really was.
“There were just so many things that could have changed this game and moved it in our direction,” coach Dan Crowley said of the 52-48 setback. “If we make half the shots inside that we missed, we win this game. … I’m very proud of the way we fought back and didn’t give up. We got it down to one and almost had a steal with a chance to take the lead. So the fact we didn’t give up was key, but it’s rough losing another one to them.”
In the end, though, Jackson dug a grave in the first half that was too much to climb out of.
Grand Ledge led 14-10 after the first quarter, but poured in 22 second-quarter points and had a 36-20 advantage by halftime.
“The second quarter was a disaster for us,” Crowley said. “They hit a big 3-pointer, got some confidence, and they were off and running. It was crazy.”
After an extended halftime, the Vikings came out soaring in the third.
Playing up tempo and with a swarming defense, Grand Ledge was knocked back, and the Vikings came to life. They outscored the Comets 13-6 in the third quarter, slowly but surely cutting into the deficit.
Owens 3-pointer with less than two minutes to play brought Jackson within one at 49-48.
“We turned the heat up on the guards, and at the same time, we did a better job fronting in the post,” Crowley said. “In the second half, we made them work for things. Grand Ledge also took the air out of the ball a bit, and we were able to turn things up and get back in it.”
The Vikings eventually got the ball back with a chance to take the lead, but a turnover late allowed Grand Ledge to ice the game from the free-throw line.
“We knew that if we played at our pace, we would wear them down,” Crowley said. “But their big kids are tough.”
The Comets’ size was key, as Javel Lewis Jr. (6’5”) and Nick Crocker (6’4”) were nearly unstoppable in the first half.
Lewis finished with nine points, and Crocker eight points and 15 rebounds.
Luke Smith led Grand Ledge (3-3) with 22 points, including five 3-pointers.
The Comets defeated the Vikings for a fifth time in a row, despite being held to just two field goals the entire second half and turning the ball over 26 times.
But Jackson’s offensive struggles, especially early, were too much to overcome.
The Vikings shot 18-for-38 from the field and 2-for-15 from 3-point range.
Marquise Robinson was the lone exception, hitting 7-of-9 from the field to lead Jackson with 15 points in the loss.
Shonte Suddeth finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and five assists, while Owens also finished with 10 points.
Jackson (3-3) is back in action Tuesday at home against Lansing Eastern.
Mike Moore is a play-by-play commentator and Sports Writer for JTV Sports.
He’s also a Real Estate agent with Real Estate One, specializing with buyers and sellers throughout Michigan, from the Jackson area to metro Detroit. You can reach him at email@example.com or by calling (313) 770-6365 with any inquiries