ALGONQUIN – Jacobs players are aware of the history with their own holiday tournament, where they have not been to the championship bracket since winning the tournament in 2008.
The Golden Eagles are poised to change that.
Jacobs handled Johnsburg’s constant full-court pressure for most of Monday’s game and defeated the Skyhawks, 78-67, in their Pool I game of the Hinkle Holiday Classic at the Eagles’ Nest. The Eagles (4-3 overall, 2-0 Pool II) are one win away from the tournament semifinals and can grab that spot with a win against Chicago Tilden at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
“We just wanted to take care of business and get in and compete, to have a chance to win the tournament against teams like Zion-Benton and Larkin and Carmel,” Jacobs guard Chrishawn Orange said. “We want to get noticed.”
Orange scored 19 points to lead the Eagles to their fourth consecutive win. Ben Murray added 15 and forward Robert Grant came off the bench to score 12.
Johnsburg (1-10, 0-2) was using its new style of play for the second game, using full-court pressure, liberal substituting and plenty of 3-point shots. Skyhawks coach Mike Toussaint, at 1-8, decided to try something different.
Steve Dixon scored 32 points and hit eight 3s, one off Mundelein’s Eric Levernier’s tournament record in 1996. The Skyhawks’ 15 3s for a team equaled Mundelein’s record from that same game.
Jacobs handled the pressure well for three quarters and built its lead to as many as 27 before the Skyhawks hit five 3s in the fourth quarter to cut into the margin.
“We did a good job handling their pressure and containing their chaos,” Jacobs guard Kenton Mack said. “We played the way we wanted to play, we just didn’t do a great job closing, but we were able to come out with the win.”
Jacobs shot 55.3 percent (26 of 47) through three quarters.
“We played well to get to that point,” Jacobs coach Jim Roberts said. “Johnsburg wanted to muck it up a little and fly around and they have a couple of kids who can really shoot. For three quarters we played well and did what we needed to do.”
The Skyhawks got 14 points from Collin Ridout, who hit four 3s.
“We’ve had 1 1/2 practices working on this,” Toussaint said. “It’s a high-risk, high-reward style, but we shoot the 3 well and we’re best when we’re pressing. And we’re pretty deep. We have a plan to it, but we haven’t watched a lot of film so we’re kind of flying by the seat of our pants.
“We were 1-8 and I thought, ‘We have nothing to lose. Let’s do something fun.’ ”