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No. 1 Jackets pull away from Racers

December 06, 2020 - 00:00
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Things are going either quite well or very poorly with your program when the coach raves about the fourth-quarter performance of a group that also played earlier in the JV game.

In Kingfisher’s case, it’s all good right now.

The Jackets had their much-anticipated season-opener last Tuesday and throttled No. 14 Newcastle 77-35.

In a lot of blowout wins, a team’s margin can get sliced into late when it delves deep into its bench.

That wasn’t the case against the Racers as Kingfisher outscored its guests 22-10 in the fourth quarter.

“I really liked our non-starters’ effort and executionboth late in that game and in the JV game,” said head coach Jared Reese, now in his eighth season at the helm.

Top-ranked Kingfisher put the “non-starters” in position to shine by steadily pulling away.

After quickly jumping up 8-0 and then completely surrendering that lead, the Jackets outscored Newcastle 14-3 to close the quarter and then went on a 20-4 run in the second.

A trio of senior starters were leading the scoring charge.

Bijan Cortes had 18 points in the half while Jarret Birdwell - just four days removed from football season - put 11 on the board. Matthew Stone added another 10.

The lead was 30 points after three quarters and Reese filtered in a slew of Jackets.

They responded with four 3-pointers - two by Maddox Mecklenburg and one each from Mason Snider and Chase Davis - and limited the Racers to two field goals in the quarter.

While KHS did limit Newcastle to 27 percent shooting, Reese wasn’t pleased with every aspect on the defensive end.

“Our closeouts were poor, which led to them shooting way too many free throws,” he said.

Newcastle was 19 of 34 from the charity stripe.

The Jackets, meanwhile, were 12 of 14 on foul shots and made 52 percent of their field goals.

Cortes, playing his first game since signing with the University of Oklahoma, ended with 20 points, five rebounds and seven assists.

Birdwell scored 13 points to go with his six rebounds.

Stone, who has signed to play at North Texas, led the team with seven rebounds and three steals to go along with his 12 points.

Eleven different Jackets scored in a game that saw them counter seven turnovers with 18 assists.

“We looked to play really unselfishly,” Reese said. “That gave us a decent balance in scoring and I was also happy with our free throw shooting.”