Archbishop Hoban senior guard DeAllen Jackson put a first half to forget in the past and stayed in the moment Tuesday night at St. Vincent-St. Mary.
Jackson scored no points in the first half.
He didn’t pout or quit, he just kept playing and put together a second half to remember to lead the visiting Knights to a 47-41 victory over the rival Fighting Irish.
Jackson, a 6-foot-1 guard, scored all of his game-high 19 points in the second half and also finished with 12 rebounds to lead Hoban (4-0) past St. V-M (1-3).
“It is an amazing moment,” Jackson said. “The first half I struggled, so I knew I had to pick it up for my team to come through with a win.
“In the huddle, Coach told me to ‘Just keep shooting and they will start to drop.’ ”
Jackson scored 10 points in the third quarter and nine points in the fourth quarter to help Hoban erase a 16-14 halftime deficit and secure its first win over St. V-M since a Division II district final in 2008 in Canton.
Hoban 6-2 senior Jaelen Hollinger scored 12 points and 6-3 senior Saadiq Muhammad contributed 10 points, 14 rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
“We told the guys at halftime that we shot 13 percent [from the field], and we are in a basketball game,” Hoban coach T.K. Griffith said. “That is unheard of.”
Hoban’s offense sputtered at times, but its zone defense was sound the entire game.
“We are an undersized team, so we can’t afford to go man [to man defensively],” Jackson said. “St. Vincent-St. Mary is pretty big. We were fortunate to play zone and it worked out for us. We have got scrappy players.
“It just came down to us playing with heart. All of our guys are undersized. We went for every loose ball and every rebound we could possibly get. That is what got us this win.”
Griffith, a 1989 Hoban graduate who has been the Knights’ coach since 1994, said the zone defense is modeled after Syracuse University’s.
“This is an absolutely fantastic win,” Hollinger said. “We came in our senior year together as a team. Everyone contributed tonight.”
Irish standout freshman Vincent King Jr. scored all of his three points in the third quarter and fouled out with 26.4 seconds to go in the fourth quarter.
“We know he is a 6-7 shooter, so we wanted to get on him [and defend],” Jackson said.
Jalen Hudson, a 6-6 junior, paced the Irish with 16 points, five rebounds and three blocks. The Irish also got seven points and 11 rebounds from 6-6 senior Nick Wells.
“No excuses, we were outplayed,” St. V-M coach Dru Joyce II said. “You could see it really from the opening tap. Some of it is our fault. Teams are just packing it in on us and we are letting them dictate tempo. When we have had opportunities to speed the game up, we have not made good decisions with the ball. We will see a whole bunch of zone.
“My hat’s off to T.K. They did what they had to do and they stayed in the zone.”
Griffith knew his team would eventually make shots.
“DeAllen is a heck of an offensive player,” Griffith said. “Really, that win, honest to God started in the Chapel today. We have Chapel every day before a game and Jaelen Hollinger gave one of the best Chapel talks. He talked about family and togetherness, these guys growing up together and that they had never beaten St. Vincent-St. Mary.”
Griffith said the last time the Knights beat the Irish at St. V-M was in 1995.
“This is a great confidence booster,” Muhammad said. “This is our senior year and we have been waiting for this game for a long time. Whenever Hoban and St. Vincent-St. Mary get together, the whole city of Akron knows about it. For us to be able to come into a hostile environment like this and get a win means the world to us. And we are not even playing our best basketball. It is still early in the season. We have a lot to improve on.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.