Boys basketball - Lumpkin downs Panthers in scrimmage

  • Indians player Peyton Polk adds an exclamation point on a fast break with a two-handed dunk against the Jackson County Panthers.
    Indians player Peyton Polk adds an exclamation point on a fast break with a two-handed dunk against the Jackson County Panthers.

The LCHS varsity boys basketball team received a sensational second half performance from Pat Jackson during its final tuneup before the start of the 2019-2020 season which allowed the Indians to mount a second half comeback victory over the Panthers when the two teams met up for a scrimmage game at Jackson County High School on Thursday, Nov. 7.
With the Indians trailing by four points coming out of the halftime break, Jackson put up 18 second half points to help Lumpkin rally and pull ahead of the Panthers. The Indians would go on to win the game by a final score of 61-43. Jackson would finish the game as the Indians’ top scorer with 27 points.
“He [Jackson] is a tremendous asset to us on both ends of the floor,” said LCHS head boys basketball coach Jeff Steele. “All we are asking of him is to play consistently hard on both ends and stay aggressive. He has a very high ceiling.”
The Indians and the Panthers got off to a slow start offensively. Jackson County held on to an early 9-8 lead by the time the buzzer sounded to end the first quarter of play.
Lumpkin, who played solid defense against a much taller and lengthier Jackson County team, began to shut down passing lanes and contest more shots in the second quarter of the contest. While the defense tried to contain the big bodies of the Panthers, the Indians’ offense began to find a groove.
However, the Indians found themselves down to Jackson County 26-22 at halftime.
The Indians came out of the break reenergized and ready to go to work.
Jackson started the second half off by cutting the Panthers’ lead to a single point after draining a three-point shot from the wing. Jackson put the Indians ahead 27-26 moments later after converting on a fast break off a Panthers’ turnover.
The Indians never trailed again.
Lumpkin’s offense began to find a serious rhythm in the second half with much of their success coming from strong defense at the other end of the court. The Indians contested the Panthers’ shooters throughout the second half of play, forced turnovers and created several fast break opportunities. The opportunities created by the defense were not squandered on the other side of the court, and the Indians built a 42-35 advantage by the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Lumpkin contained the Panthers’ offense and outscored Jackson County 19-8 to earn the Indians a 61-43 victory.
Lumpkin had eight different players score in the final two quarters of the game. Jackson led the team with 27 points, 18 of which came in the second half. Jacob Cumbie dropped nine points and Gus Faulkner and Chandler Pulley each connected for seven points in the game to round out the top four scorers for Lumpkin on the night.
Despite the solid job the Indians put in on defense, Steele believes there is still room to improve, especially when it comes to communication.
“Overall, we felt our defense was okay,” Steele said. “We are working very hard on all of the defenses we play. Right now we lack the ability to communicate on a regular basis. We feel like when they understand our rules and communicate we can be more solid defensively.”
Steele felt that the overall performance by his players in the scrimmage is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how good he expects and believes the Indians will be this season.
“We, as a staff, felt like there were some positives as well as negatives versus Jackson County,” Steele said. “But that’s what the scrimmage is for. I feel like if we keep improving on both the good and the bad we can be pretty good.The way to improve is to keep grinding the fundamentals of our brand of basketball everyday. We certainly get lots of reps in all we do, but the understanding of our rules and procedures is paramount.”
With the 2019-2020 season set to start, Steele believes that his players should have a good chance at making the State Tournament again this year, but is more focused on coaching his players to give their all when they step on to the court.
“We want to be the best we can be, however that translates,” Steele said. “Obviously another trip to the state tournament is always a goal.”