LAWRENCEVILLE, Ill. — Jordan Jones likely didn't get off to the start he was hoping for his senior campaign on Friday, but the Lawrenceville veteran bounced back in a big way.
After being limited to three points in a blowout Indians loss to start the Capital Classic against Marshall, Jones went off for all of his game-high 19 points in first half of the nightcap to lead Lawrenceville to a 77-35 pasting of Edwards County.
The Indians fell to the Lions, 70-46, though the margin was single digits late in the third. Lawrenceville continues tourney play against Mount Carmel at 11:30 a.m. CST today. Mount Carmel defeated Edwards County, 52-28, in the opener Friday, but the Golden Aces fell to the Lions, 58-48, in their second game. If Marshall beats Edwards County today, the Lawrenceville-Mount Carmel winner goes to the third-place game 6:30 p.m., with the loser falling into the fifth-place game at 5 p.m.
Blayne Winningham joined Jones in double figures with 18 points, Skyler Tewell scored 11, Brayden Sherman eight, and Logan Williams and Hunter Scott seven. It was the varsity debut for the freshman Scott.
“We bounced back tonight. I saw EdCo earlier today, and they hung around quite a while, so give our kids credit,” Lawrenceville coach Randy Bishop said. “We played well. Tewell and Jones shot it well, and Sherman and Winningham played solid in the post for us.”
It was a 12-8 Indians lead midway through the first period when they took off. Lawrenceville scored the next 19 points in a 28-2 knockout blow that spanned the first two periods. It was 33-10 after one, and the margin was 40-10 when the Lions roared back with a 11-0 spurt. Williams ended the run with a 3, and the Indians got the final four points of the half to go up, 47-26, into the break.
The teams swapped buckets to start the third and bring the score to 51-30 when Lawrenceville struck again. The Indians closed the third quarter on a 16-2 blast, including the final 10 points, to go up 67-32, and earn a running clock for the fourth stanza.
The Indians were without seniors Noah Weger (hand) and Cale Powell (illness) for the tournament, but coach Randy Bishop was hopeful, but uncertain, that both could be available next week.
Marshall used its size and strength to overpower the Indians in the opener, but Lawrenceville played tight with Lions for a quarter and a half. In fact, the Indians were within nine and had possession as late as 2:20 remaining in the third.
But a steal by Marshall's Lance Rees led to two points on the other end, and the Lions made it 54-40 by the end of the period. The margin grew to 61-44 before Sherman's bucket got the Indians' deficit to 15 with 4:12 to go. Marshall countered with the final nine points of the contest however to win in a runaway.
The Lions had a 37-25 rebounding advantage, including 11-6 in the final period. Fifteen of Marshall's rebounds were offensive.
“They're big, and we had trouble getting them off the boards. Their size hurt us,” Bishop said. “We did some good things. We forced them into some turnovers, but then we wouldn't score. Their defense is probably a little better than we are right now. At times we looked good, but their physicality took us out of it. When we can match that and rebound better, as our guard play improves, we'll be better.”
Tewell led Lawrenceville with 13 points, and Williams had 12. Winningham was next with six points and a team-best eight rebounds.
Williams hit consecutive 3s to give the Indians an early 6-3 lead, but the Lions netted the next seven points and never trailed again. It was a 16-12 Marshall lead after one. Another Williams 3-pointer followed by a Sherman free throw pulled the Indians within 22-20 with 4:55 to go in the half. The Lions took off with the next eight points in a 15-3 counterpunch before a pair of Williams free throws got Lawrenceville within 37-25 at halftime.
Tewell scored eight in the third quarter to help the Indians hang around.
“(Wililams) really got us going, but then we got away from him. Some of our younger kids have to learn that when a kid is making shots, we have to get him the ball. He hit some big shots early,” Bishop said. “Tewell played well. He broke them down pretty giid, but we have to have more of that from our guards.”