Northeast Florida Sports Jacksonville

Northwest Christmas Classic: Jackson Over First Coast

Ribault High School-  The Christmas Classic featured four high school teams from the North West area of Jacksonville facing off to be crowned champions. Jackson defeated Raines and First Coast defeated Ribault in first round  tournament action on Tuesday. The final would pit Jackson and First Coast against each other on the hard wood, in front of a capacity crowd.IMG_6728 (800x533)

The moment the game tipped off Andrew Jackson would control the tempo of the contest.  Jackson would storm out to an early lead thanks to the play of their guard #1 Ricard Leggett. Leggett ran the offense from the point and attacked the basket with reckless abandon. When the Buccaneer defense would collapse to help in the paint, Leggett would dish to his teammates for layups. If Leggett missed his teammates were there for the the rebound or put backs. The Tigers would lead by as much as 9 points in the first quarter but First Coast would weather the early storm and get buckets of their own. The Bucs were led by Maleke Lyle who knocked down tough jumpers to close the Tiger lead to 18-12 after one period.

The second period was sluggish for both teams as they struggled to knock down their shots. The Tigers harassed the  Buccaneer’s guards with their speed and length, while the Bucs made Jackson baskets difficult to convert with their height advantage in the paint. After the end of the second period Jackson led 29-23. Mike Decembre would lead the Tigers with 6 points at the half. Lyle would lead First Coast with 7 points. IMG_6802 (800x533)

First Coast would find the iron unkind in the second half as many of their shots just would not fall. To add insult to injury, the Bucs struggled at the free throw line enabling Jackson to increase their half time lead to 45-28 late in the third quarter. Jackson would outscore First Coast 17-5 at one stretch in the game thanks to the suffocating defense by the Tigers. Coach Williams of Jackson ramped up the defense at halftime and his team executed the game plan almost to perfection. The big men challenged every shot by First Coast, while the guards put on the press to force steals. Jackson did not have to deploy much of their full court press tonight as the guards were able to lock down the half court. The Final Score 61-49 Jackson.

Ricard Leggett finished with 12 points and was named tournament MVP. Leggett was all over the court throughout the tournament. IMG_6840 (533x800)Keyshawn Curry added 11 points for the Tigers in the final game. He provided the second punch needed for Jackson’s combo effort on Wednesday Night. First Coast’s Jalen Shuman and Kendall Jackson shared team MVP honors for the Buccaneers. Both are in the class of 2018 with play makers like Devon Matthews who make up a nucleus of young stars for First Coast.

But tonight belonged to the talented ballers from Main Street, as Jackson showcased their experience and tenacity with yet another tournament victory to add to their storied collection.


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