At this point last year, not very many of people knew the name Tory Jackson. My how things have changed! Now he is recognized as a player that other teams have to game-plan for. That was true last week when we saw him in a thrilling comeback effort versus Warren DeLaSalle. It was again evident a few days later in his 31 point/10 assist performance in an 83-77 victory over Beaverton (in front of UM assistant Charles Ramsey). When we traveled to U of D Jesuit to watch Jackson’s Knights take on the Detroit Redford Huskies, we expected the same level of attention to be devoted to him. That is exactly what we got.
Redford Coach Derrick McDowell, who was without leading scorer Ramon Pettus (knee injury) got his twin towers, brothers Brandon (6-9) and Deshawn (6-8) Wolfe, involved in slowing down the diminutive scoring star. But as we’ve come to expect, Tory still found ways to get the job done. “Tory Jackson came out really aggressive early on,” GBW correspondent Andre Barthwell said. “He missed some shots, but even the shots he missed looked good. He helped Buena Vista keep pace and they were down 11-9 after one. Coach McDowell had his team step up the defense on Tory and the Huskies extended that lead to 25-20 at the half. The intensity with which they went after Tory increased yet again coming out of the locker room. They made a conscious decision in the second half to run a big man out high. McDowell kept either Deshawn on Brandon Wolfe at the top of the key to deter Tory. But you know Tory…a couple of times he got around them to do his thing.”
On one such occasion, Jackson dazzled the crowd with a shot over the much bigger Brandon Wolfe. “Tory came down court and passed it off before getting it back,” Andre recalled. “He then went to the left and crossed back hard to the right. Once he got in close, he went up and showed Wolfe the ball. When Brandon went up to block it, Tory double clutched and put the ball off of the glass sideways for the bucket.”
While that play was big time, it only increased the appetite for more. Tory delivered in crowd pleasing fashion, but in the process, he also hurt his team. “Tory went on two minute 8-0 run toward the end of the third quarter to cut the score to 37-33,” Andre said. “For the first six points he came down and hit 2 ‘zip code’ threes. His range is ridiculous. One had to be from the parking lot (laughing). The strength that he has gotten from football is really showing and his power and explosion was on display for the final bucket of his the run. Tory ripped Redford’s Jerome Hutching just as he crossed the half court line. Hutching tried to chase Tory down but couldn't catch him. With one power step from in close, Tory went up and assaulted the rim with a one handed slam! The unfortunate thing for him was, the play didn’t end there. He hung on the rim and got T’d up.”
Jackson saw Hutching out of the corner of his eye and was attempting to avoid making contact, but later admitted that it probably didn’t call for hanging on the rim like he did. “I have to be smarter than that,” Jackson said. That obviously was the point that Coach Chris Chaffer was trying to make when he sat Jackson for the final 1:02 of the quarter. “Tory dunked to pull us within four, but he hung on the rim and got a technical," Chaffer told the Saginaw News. "We can't have mental lapses like that
That brief stint with Jackson on the bench at the end of the third was all Redford needed. The Huskies went on a 6-0 run to and put them up 10 as time in the period expired. McDowell’s club was able to hold that margin in the final quarter and prevailed 58-49.
“That's a tough team and we just didn't get job done,” said Jackson who was 10/22 for 23 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 1 steal. 2 turnovers. Redford’s Coprayale Harris led Redford with 22 points and 6 assists.
In the following game, two of the top sophomores in the state went head to head for harwood supremacy when Saginaw Arthur Hill and Darquavis (Dar) Tucker took on Detroit DePorres and Durrell Summers.
“It was a game of horrible shooting slumps,” Andre said. “Arthur Hill was playing lights out defense early and led 20-16 at the half. Coming out of the locker room, though, I don’t know what happened. I don’t know if it was poor shooting tough defense, but Arthur Hill went ice cold and was outscored 21-9 in the third. The Lumberjacks were never able to close the gap and lost 60-53.”
The one on one match-up never really materialized, but we did get a good account of Summers’ skill set and more confirmation of what a terrific athlete Tucker is. “Durrell Summers showed a little something,” Andre said. “He was 6/10 for 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 steals. He is 6-4 175-180 lb. slasher type that is good shooter. He was a bit more fluid than his sophomore counterpart and let the game come to him, but that was likely do to him playing with a better supporting cast.”
“Dar Tucker is just an outstanding athlete. He gets up and down the floor well and is an explosive leaper. Another thing that really impresses people is how he really gets after it. He is ultra aggressive. That said, he needs to work on his handles and his consistency from outside.”
Tucker, who got hot late in the game, finished with 24 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 steals.
GBW will have more on both players in the coming days and weeks.