ALGONQUIN – Jacobs found out quickly that its game against Lakes was going to be a struggle.
The Golden Eagles were bothered by Lakes’ pressure defense, as well as guard Direll Clark’s sizzling start. Lakes ran up a 10-point lead in the first quarter and never let it get to less than six in a 68-48 victory Wednesday night in Pool I play at the Jacobs Holiday Classic at the Eagles’ Nest.
Clark has 14 of his game-high 26 in the first quarter, scoring all the Eagles’ points for that quarter after the score was tied at 5-5.
“They were a lot stronger than us, more physical and they took it to us,” Jacobs forward Will Schwerdtmann said. “I commend them for that. To start off, we just weren’t ready to play.”
Clark, a 5-foot-11, 225-pound NCAA Division I football prospect, hit 5-of-7 shots, two for 3-pointers, and hit 4-of-4 free throws in the first quarter.
“They’re a pretty nice team,” Jacobs coach Jim Hinkle said. “They set the tone with their physical play and aggressiveness. We weren’t able to change it. We had a couple of little runs, but our skinny guys couldn’t beat their bigger guys.”
Schwerdtmann did his best to keep the Golden Eagles close with 14 of his team-high 21 points in the third quarter. He hit three 3s in the span of 1:10.
“We just tried to run our offense and I took open shots like I’d expect my teammates to take when they get open looks,” Schwerdtmann said.
Jacobs (4-6 overall, 1-1 Pool I) faces Hope Academy (1-1 in pool play) at 7:30 p.m. today and can reach the Consolation A bracket with a victory.
“Tonight, they were the better team,” Hinkle said. “They were more than we could handle. They have a nice combination of strength and quickness. They could make some noise in this tournament.”
Lakes (11-3, 2-0) will play Marian Central at 4:30 p.m. for a trip to the championship bracket.
“We were able to get a nice lead and answer their runs with runs of our own,” Lakes coach Chris Snyder said. “Direll has that ability and he got the hot hand. He was a big reason we had that lead. He’s an All-State running back and you can see the athleticism he has.” Troy Swindle hit four 3s and added 17 points for the Eagles, who are playing in the tournament the first time.
“We were really ready to play after having three days off,” said Clark, who has several D-I scholarship offers for football. “People get rattled by our pressure defense and throw the ball in the air. We’re quick enough to track it down.”