SJO boys hoops finish first full week of 2018 with a perfect 3-0 record, a win over tough T-Town

The St. Joseph-Ogden boys’ basketball team has begun the 2018 calendar year much like they ended 2017, on a roll and continuing to put up a lot of points. 

Since their 98-66 win over Shelbyville in the first annual SJO Christie Clinic Shootout last Saturday, the Spartans have taken the floor three times, all of those being victories. 

This past Tuesday, SJO went on the road to play Heritage, and came away with a convincing 72-45 win over the Hawks, behind a career night from junior Jack Cook, who scored 38 points.  Joel Orcutt added 16 points, while Jordan Brooks chipped in 9 points.  The Spartans attempted nearly twice as many shots as did Heritage, making 27-56 (48%).  SJO struggled from beyond the arc, making just 2-13 from three-point range, but thrived at the free throw line, making 16-26 attempts for 61%.  The Spartans led by just 9 points at 29-20 at the half, but outscored the Hawks 43-25 in the second half to coast to the victory.  SJO outrebounded Heritage 35-19, and had 19 steals, compared to just 1 for the Hawks.  Jared Stevens led Heritage in scoring with 20 points.  The Hawks shot 16-29 (55%) from the field, and was 4-6 from long range.  However, they were only 9-14 from the foul line, and committed 25 turnovers, compared to 12 for the Spartans. 

On Friday evening, SJO traveled to south to Teutopolis to play a Wooden Shoes team that is tough year-in and year-out.  Despite being a close game throughout, the Spartans used a 21-point fourth quarter to take down the Wooden Shoes 69-60 and get a huge non-conference win at the same time.  Jordan Brooks led SJO with 23 points, while Joel Orcutt added 17.  Senior Bryce Haake added 10 points for SJO, who took a slim 32-30 lead into the halftime locker room.  The Spartans shot the ball well once again against T-Town, making 18-39 shots for 46%.  They were 7-15 from beyond the arc, and went to the free throw line 42 times, making 26 of those attempts.  SJO won the battle on the boards by a 33-21 margin, and turned the ball over 15 times.  Teutopolis was led in scoring by Dawson Smith with 12 points and Eric Kremer, who finished the game with 10 points.  The Wooden Shoes was 20-43 (46%) from the field, including just 4-16 (25%) from long range.  T-Town was 16-28 (57%) from the charity stripe in the game, and had two players foul out in the game. 

On Saturday afternoon, the Spartans continued their non-conference slate with a visit from Paxton-Buckley-Loda, and SJO was once again victorious, winning by a score of 60-40.  Jack Cook had another solid game for the Spartans, scoring 18 points to once again lead the team.  Joel Orcutt and Jordan Brooks each added 12 points, while Bryce Haake chipped in 6 for SJO, who shot the ball well from the field, making 24-46 shots for 52%.  The Spartans struggled from beyond the arc, making just 3-17 shots, but was 9-10 from the free throw line.  SJO built a 35-19 lead at the half and never looked back from that point, cruising to the win.  The Spartans dominated on the boards, winning by a landslide margin of 36-9.  SJO also dished out 16 assists, compared to just 4 for the Panthers.

“After the big win we had on Friday night (against Teutopolis), we came out a little sluggish, but that might have been the defense that they (PBL) threw at us.  We had a little trouble with the 1-2-2 zone at first, but once we figured it out, we adjusted nicely”, SJO head coach Brian Brooks said following his team’s win over the Panthers on Saturday. 

 Austin Gooden led PBL (7-8) in scoring with 20 points, and was the only Panthers player to reach double figures.  PBL was just 17-46 (36%) from the field, and even worse from beyond the arc, making only 2-15 shots.  The Panthers were, however, perfect from the foul line, making all four of their attempts. 

The Spartans (15-1) will begin Illini Prairie Conference play this week, when they host St. Thomas More on Tuesday evening.  SJO has two more conference games scheduled for this week as well, as they travel to Olympia to battle the other Spartans on Friday evening, then will return home on Saturday to welcome the Hawks of Prairie Central to town.   


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