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Posted On: 01/30/18 10:31 AM
This matchup took place January 9 at Rummel but the Blue Jays made themselves right at home in a District 9-5A contest, better known as the Catholic League. Jesuit dominated from the opening tap outscoring Rummel 23-12 and were up by as much as 51-22 late in the third quarter. They went on to win 61-39, which was their fourth straight win and the eighth in their last nine tries.
Jesuit’s record was 13-3 after the win and 2-0 in district while Rummel fell to 14-7 and 2-1 in district. The Blue Jays are now 16-5 and 4-1 in district, and the Raiders are 16-10 and 4-3.
(1) The beauty of ball movement and hard cuts
When a team is really moving the ball, screening and cutting hard to the rim, good things happen. Jesuit coach Chris Jennings didn’t want to take credit for the way his team moves the ball but he absolutely should. Sure, this group is full of unselfish guys that want to play together but there was a clear emphasis on passing and cutting that was obvious from the start of the game. Jesuit isn’t usually one of the area’s top teams but this group is playing at a high level boasting a 16-5 record with quality wins over Helen Cox, Catholic B.R., Warren Easton and St. Augustine.
(2) The Blue Jays have confidence and shooting
In addition to their unselfishness moving the ball, the Blue Jays were a confident group that believed in themselves and each other. They weren’t shy about letting it fly from deep, nor should they have been with a plethora of guys that can knock down shots.
2018s Will Landrieu, Michael Hull and 2019 Zachary DeBlieux all connected on at least one 3-pointer in the game with Landrieu leading the way with four of the eight total 3’s. Jesuit is known for playing at a slower pace but their total of 61 points was the seventh time they topped the 60-point mark this season.
(3) Jesuit 2019 Elijah Morgan is a player to keep an eye on
Jennings correctly pointed out that he has a really solid group of high school players but believes he has one guy who’s game could translate to the next level as well. Elijah McGuire is typically a knock-down shooter but actually struggled behind the 3-point line against Rummel going 0-for. This, however, gave the 5-foot-11 junior a chance to show off the rest of his game and he did just that getting to the rim for layups or drawing fouls to get to the line. He was the game’s second-leading scorer with 15 points and was 5-for-5 from the stripe.
(4) Rummel has multiple scoring threats
Rummel has a lot of firepower with four guys who are capable of putting up 20 on any given night. 2018 Iman Fazande and 2019 Donte Mitchell are the most likely candidates as the team’s top two scorers but 2018 Aaron Brule, one of the state’s top prospects at safety, isn’t shy about getting up shots either. 2020 Corey Smooth plays more of the distributor role but is capable of putting the ball in the basket when needed. All four, however, couldn’t seem to get on the same page against Jesuit finishing with 13 (Fazande), 9 (Mitchell), 7 (Smooth) and 6 (Brule).
(5) Rummel struggling to put the pieces together
While the Raiders have the talent, they struggled to put it together against Jesuit and other quality opponents this season. Their best win prior to the Jesuit game was a 73-71 victory over Curtis on January 5, which was the second time they topped the 70-point mark this season. A slow start wasn’t surprising with two key players in Brule and Smooth having to transition from football to basketball but the Raiders still haven’t gelled together as a unit. The loss to Jesuit was the start of a 2-4 stretch but Rummel still has some time to sort things out as all 13 Division I teams will make the playoffs, which begin near the end of February.