BREMEN — Mishawaka Marian senior Demetrius Jackson’s jersey number seemed appropriate Tuesday.
If most good high school ballplayers can turn their games up to 10 in a close contest, his goes all the way up to 11.
With the Lions hanging around for three quarters, the Notre Dame signee and McDonald’s All American took it to another level in the final frame at Bremen, scoring 15 of his game-high 28 points during a 27-15 fourth quarter that put the home team away 81-61.
“You cannot get down because if you get down to (Jackson) in the fourth quarter, he’s just going to take it over,” said Bremen head coach Ryan Eakins. “You’re not going to be able to pressure the basketball; you have to play with a lead against them.”
The game was fairly nip-tuck most of the way with four lead changes at the start of the second half. Bremen took its last lead of the night, 37-36, on a driving layup from Ethan Pike at the 5:12 stop of the third quarter, but Marian closed out the quarter 18-9 to take a 54-46 lead into the final period.
Jackson took over from there, getting into the paint at will and going 5 of 6 from the floor and another 5 of 6 from the line to help his team snap a three-game skid that included a shocking double overtime loss at LaVille last week.
The 6-1 point guard’s leadership on defense and at the point also helped make the difference Tuesday as he pilfered four steals while surrendering just one turnover, and the Lions lost the ball control battle by a 17-7 turnover margin.
“As I look at the stat sheet here, a lot of things I’m really proud of. We out-rebound them, and a lot of things are dead even. We shot pretty well from the floor, they shot really well from the floor,” said Eakins. “But the kicker was we had 17 turnovers, and they had seven turnovers. And I also thought we took five or six bad shots. When you have 23 wasted possessions in a game, you’re going to lose by 20.”
While Jackson finished one rebound shy of a double-double with 28 points and nine rebounds, Bremen senior forward Pike matched him in offensive production with 28 points of his own and a double-double 13 rebounds coming off his nomination Monday as the District I IBCA/ Subway Player of the Week.
Junior Kai Slough knocked down a trio of 3-pointers on his way to 14 points for the night, meanwhile, and the Bremen football quarterback also served up six assists to go with seven rebounds. Jacob Box drew the tough defensive assignment against Jackson, and he finished with eight points and six rebounds in the loss, which drops the team to 9-10 on the season.
The Lions finish up regular-season play with a Northern State Conference closer at home against Culver Friday.
“I thought we did a lot of nice things offensively when we had some patience. I thought Jacob curled a couple nice times, and Kai played like a stud. When he shows up to play it makes us a very dangerous ball club,” Eakins said.
“A lot of positives we take into a big conference game Friday to finish off the season. I’m proud of our guys. We’re getting better, and even with a week left in the season we can improve each and every time out.”
Michael Whitfield scored 20 for the Knights and led Jackson with 18 points through three quarters at Bremen. Devin Cannady was the third Marian player in double figures with 10 as the visitors closed the regular season at 10-9. The Knights will play Culver Military Academy in the early quarterfinal at the Class 3A Plymouth Sectional next Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Prior to Tuesday’s varsity tip-off, the JV Lions earned a thrilling come-from-behind win over their Marian counterparts as Penn transfer Joey Atkins scored 41 of his team’s 49 points, including a long range 3-point buzzer-beater that sealed the 49-47 victory.
“We were down 26 at halftime and Coach (Reagan Eakins) kind of challenged them in the locker room,” said Eakins. “JV, we’ve got a week left in the season and it kind of looks like there’s a little light at the end of the tunnel. Coach kind of challenged them to take this last week and use it to get better.”
“Joey scored 41 points, and he was not making easy shots,” continued the varsity Lions skipper. “They were all over him. He just flat made shots, and that’s the second year in a row we’ve hit a shot at the buzzer to beat Marian in the JV game so I’m really proud of the JV game; it’s really cool for them to experience a shot like that.”
• MISHAWAKA MARIAN 81,
Marian: 14 34 54 81
Bremen: 7 30 46 61
MARIAN (81): Demetrius Jackson 28, Michael Whitfield 20, Devin Cannady 10, Quron Marks 5, Chris Stager 4, Jake Whitfield 6, Will Whitten 8, Ryan Schafer 0; Totals: 32 12-19 81.
BREMEN (61): Ethan Pike 28, Kai Slough 14, Sam Lacher 2, Jacob Box 8, Phoenix Ricketts 0, Don Browning 6, Ryan Topper 0, Dillon Mullen 0, Reid Zellmer 0, Austin Adams 3, Brett Louderback 0; Totals: 22 11-19 61.
3-pointers: Marian 5 (M. Whitfield 2, Cannady 2, Marks 1), Bremen 6 (Slough 3, Pike 2, Box 1); Rebounds: Marian 27 (Jackson 9), Bremen 32 (Pike 13); Turnovers: Marian 7, Bremen 17; Steals: Marian 13 (Jackson 4), Bremen 4 (Browning 2); Assists: Marian 9 (Jackson 4), Bremen 8 (Slough 6).
Records: Bremen 9-10, Marian 10-9.
JV score: Bremen 49 (Joey Atkins 41), Marian 47 (Ryan Schafer 22)