EVERETT — Gio Jackson is listed at just 6 feet tall. However, the Everett Community College men’s basketball team’s star point guard showed yet again Saturday night that height doesn’t have to be a limiting factor on the court.
Jackson was as flawless as a court general can be, coming one assist away from a triple-double as the Trojans ran past the Edmonds Tritons 117-100 in a Northwest Athletic Conference North Region heavyweight showdown at the Walt Price Student Fitness Center.
In a game between an Everett team ranked No. 2 in the NWAC Coaches Poll and an Edmonds team tied for third, it was Jackson who was the difference maker, finishing with 32 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. He was efficient in scoring his 32 points, too, as he finished 8-for-10 from the field and 13-for-14 from the line.
“We played great,” the sophomore from Todd Beamer High School in Federal Way said. “We played as a team the whole way.
“It’s a big statement win,” Jackson added. “I knew it was going to be a battle, and we were just the tougher team.”
Jackson had plenty of help. Markieth Brown Jr., Jackson’s back-court running mate, added 28 points, and the duo was able to speed the game up so that the pace was better suited to Everett’s guard play than Edmonds’ forwards.
“Our guards played as well as they possibly can play,” Everett coach Mike Trautman said. “(Jackson) scored 32 points and he missed three shots, and you don’t see that anywhere, I don’t care what level, if it’s middle school, high school or pro. He played as well as I’ve seen him play. He keeps getting better every day and he’s just a great kid to have.”
Chase Strieby and Tori Odom each chipped in with 14 points for Everett (3-1 NWAC, 15-4 overall), which is now in sole possession of first place in a log-jammed North Region in which six of the eight teams are 2-2 in league play.
Jake Higgins made six 3-pointers and scored 25 points to lead Edmonds (2-2, 14-5). Edmonds’ front-court pair of Zach Walton and Loren LaCasse was limited by foul trouble early in the game and were held to 13 and 11 points, respectively.
“We didn’t play well,” Edmonds coach Kyle Gray said. “If you don’t play any D you don’t win, it’s as simple as that. We didn’t play any defense, I don’t know what got in our heads. We definitely had our share of foul trouble in the first half, and that hurt us for sure. But they’re a great team, so you can’t go out there and give them anything. It was a tough one for us tonight, but we just have to go back to the drawing board and commit ourselves to the defensive end.”
Everett was on the front foot right from the start of a game that was played at a breathless pace. The Trojans, behind an offense predicated by ball handoffs and dribble penetration, took advantage of Edmonds’ early foul trouble to build a lead that reached 11 points when Brown hit a baseline floater that made it 47-36.
Edmonds fought back thanks to contributions from its bench. Tyler Morris, who had 11 first-half points, hit a driving layup and a 3 on consecutive possessions, then Xavier Turner, who had 14 in the first half, hit three of four free throws as the Tritons were able to pull within 64-60 at halftime.
But Everett put on another spurt at the start of the second half to wrest back control of the game. The Trojans scored on their first five second-half possessions to extend the lead back to double digits. Then when Edmonds went into a full-court press to try and recover, Jackson was able to beat it, finding Brown wide open for a 3 and hitting Coleman Grayson for a layup as Everett’s lead ballooned to 20, and from there it was just a matter of playing out the string.