SOUTH ELGIN – Jacobs coach Jim Hinkle paced the sideline, scowling as his boys basketball team forced him to endure a pair of bucket-less droughts totaling more than 10 minutes.
So the Golden Eagles leaned on their rebounding and defense for a 38-26 nonconference victory Tuesday over South Elgin.
A beaming Hinkle was pleased he could forget his team’s 13-for-43 shooting performance.
“If there was another team in the state colder than us tonight it was [South Elgin],” Hinkle said. “I don’t think the lid came off the peach basket tonight, but that happens, and so you find a way to win when you’re not shooting well.”
Senior forwards Nick Ledinsky and Lake Ojo (seven points) dominated the glass for Jacobs (3-5 overall).
“We’ve hit the boards a lot better than we did recently, and we were able to finish around the rim rather than outside,” said Ledinsky, who finished with a team-high 14 points.
Ledinsky laid it a layup in transition, and then buried a 3-pointer from the right wing before finding another goal to open the game on a 7-0 all-Ledinsky run.
The Storm (2-7) didn’t make a field goal until 1:47 remained in the first quarter, ending a 13-1 Jacobs run.
But then Jacobs went cold, and stayed cold.
The Golden Eagles didn’t connect on a shot again until senior guard Patrick Nerja (four points) stole the ball and dished behind his back to Ledinsky in transition for a layup with 50 seconds to play in the second quarter, which spurred an up-and-down 8-0 run.
Hinkle said Nerja has played well since moving to the two-guard slot alongside starting point guard Chrishawn Orange.
“We shot the lights out in the first four minutes, and then it was like somebody turned off the lights,” Hinkle said. “We had a lot of success with trapping, which we were doing after made baskets.”
Jacobs’ frontcourt remained frustrated in the third quarter.
A pair of long two-pointers from Will Schwerdtmann and an unassisted drive to the hoop from Nerja were Jacobs’ only points of the quarter.
“We’ve played South Elgin for four years now, and every single game has been like that,” Ledinsky said. “They like to play slow paced, and we take what we can get. We’re trying to speed up our play this year, and we were trying to utilize that as much as possible today.”
From there it was clear that defense would win this one for Jacobs, but Storm forward Ryne Lundy (game-high 17 points) persisted. He scored all nine of the Storm’s fourth-quarter points.
Hinkle couldn’t be bothered.
“Two things are never ugly: babies and wins,” he said. “You’ll never hear me say that was an ugly win. We’re just excited to get it, and get ready for our tournament.”