Bench play helps lift Jackson past Everett 64-49

  • Paul J Creelman<br>For the Enterprise
  • Thursday, February 28, 2008 9:29am

There’s something magical about a 15-point victory. It just sort of sits there and glows like a neon light at a cheap motel: 15 points … bzzt … 15 points.

It’s even more magical when a team overcomes early struggles to gain the victory. Such was the case for the Jackson girls basketball team in knocking off league rival Everett in a 64-49 victory giving them a league record of 2-2.

According to coach Julie Iverson, the victory did not come as easily as the score might suggest.

“Defensively, we did not play very well in the first half,” Iverson said. “We played sloppy, kind of lazy defense, reached a lot and got into trouble.”

As a result of the foul trouble, Emilee Eisinger and Sam McCracken had to sit out part of the first and second quarters.

“We played much, much better in the second half,” Iverson said. “We switched to zone defense and forced them to shoot outside a lot.

Junior post Eisinger scored a game-high 27 points, and had 11 rebounds. McCracken, a sophomore center, scored 15 and had eight boards of her own. Senior guard Cat Baller had 11 points.

“Sam is probably the best rebounder on the team,” Iverson said. “She’s real tough, she got a lot of offensive boards.”

In addition to the offensive flourish, Iverson pointed to Sheri Thom and Kelsey Whitcomb, who stepped in when McCracken and Eisinger were sitting out.

“They both came in and helped us out when Emilee and Sam got into foul trouble,” Iverson said.

Finally, the sisters McClenahan, Carli and Carissa, each turned in solid performances as well, according to Iverson.

Carissa, a senior point guard, did struggle a bit, according to Iverson, but still made an important contribution to the game. Sophomore point guard Carli was essential in shutting down Everett’s offensive threat.

“Carli played valuable minutes for us,” Iverson said. “She came in and hit a big 3-pointer for us.”

Jackson led the game throughout, outscoring Everett 8-4 in the first quarter and 14-12 in the second, to give the Timberwolves a 22-16 halftime lead. In the third quarter, the scoring was more even again, Jackson’s 19 met with Everett’s 17, but in the fourth quarter, Jackson led substantially, finishing the Seagulls off with a 23-16 scoring drive.

“Everett has improved,” Iverson said. “They’re a very scrappy team. There were bodies all over the floor.

“They were after all the loose balls. They’re a very scrappy team.”

Iverson, while not completely pleased with the consistency of her team’s performance, was still pleased to leave with a victory.

“We’re still real fresh into the season,” she said. “I like our chances this season. We’ve already played some really tough teams.”

With just a fraction of the season behind them, the Timberwolves face their greatest challenges head on.

“You’d be disappointed if you were playing your best ball games six games into the season,” Iverson said.

With so little behind, and so much ahead, Iverson wants her girls to remain consistent.

“We need to continue to learn from our mistakes and not make them again,” Iverson said. “Just continue to get better, and I think things will be successful for us.”

“It was not one of our best games, but I like that we made adjustments and came out with the win.”

The coach spoke well of her two scoring leaders.

“Sam McCracken had seven assists, and that’s awesome,” she said. “She’s so tough for us, she plays post, she can play guard, she can shoot the 3-ball, she’s a force in the league.

“We have a good duo in Sam and Emilee. If someone double teams one of them, the other is going to hurt them.”

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