Pacific played in two totally different styles of boys basketball games on back-to-back days.
The Indians (6-2, 2-0) slugged out a Four Rivers Conference win Friday at New Haven 36-27 and followed that with more of an up tempo 68-52 loss to Jackson Saturday at the Bank of Sullivan Shootout.
Jackson entered the game ranked No. 3 in the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Class 5 state poll.
“We’re 2-0 in the conference and have two losses against very good teams. Cardinal Ritter is ranked No. 2 in Class 3 and Jackson is No. 3 in Class 5,” said Pacific Head Coach John VanLeer. “We were down by 18 against Jackson and got it back down to eight. Against Cardinal Ritter, it was a three-point game at one point. I’m real happy with where we are as a team.”
Pacific jumped to a 16-5 lead over New Haven after one quarter, but managed just 20 points for the remainder of the game.
It still was good enough to knock off the Shamrocks.
“Any time you go to New Haven, you’re happy to get out of there with a win. They’re so fundamentally sound defensively. They’re hard to break down,” VanLeer said. “Neither team shot the ball well, but you can credit both teams’ defense for that. There weren’t a lot of good looks to go around. We know each other’s sets. They run a million sets and we run a few sets. Nobody got a lot out of them because both defenses knew what was going on and the kids were ready for it.”
Cullen VanLeer collected 20 points and seven rebounds for Pacific.
Logan Armstrong finished with six points. Noah Boyer and Jeffrey Hinkle both scored four points. Hinkle added 13 rebounds. Tanner Brown scored two points.
New Haven (5-2, 0-1) was led by Seth Schenck, who scored 12 points.
Kyle Ruediger finished with eight points. Ross Seitter scored seven points.
“We played great defensively. When you play well defensively against them, Ray (New Haven Coach Ray Steinhoff) does such a great job and they know their roles, they’re not going to take shots that they’re not supposed to take. They’re going to take the right shots or they’re going to keep running their offense,” VanLeer said. “We’re not a great pressing team this year, so we didn’t turn them over. It was a good game and a good win.”
With a mix of good size on the inside and steady shooters on the outside, Jackson led all the way in a win over Pacific.
Jackson held leads of 21-10 after one quarter, 36-23 at halftime and 38-27 after three quarters.
Pacific got to within eight points with two minutes remaining in the fourth.
“Jackson is a really good team. They’re huge, really big all the way across,” VanLeer said. “We started in a triangle and two and had to get out of that. We played some zone and they just made threes. They haven’t shot a lot of threes this season according to some people I’ve talked to. Our kids competed. I’m proud of the effort we gave. There were some mental breakdowns that we need to fix.”
Cullen VanLeer led all scorers with 30 points.
Brown finished with eight points. Hinkle and Armstrong both scored four points. Jacob Klenke and Boyer both had three points.
“Cullen rises to the level of competition. He’s always been a pass first, shoot second guy. I’m trying to get him into the mentality that he has to score. I’ve been trying to do that for three years. He took that mentality when we got down. He probably should have had it earlier in the game,” VanLeer said. “There were just some mental breakdowns. There were some non-blockouts. We missed some layups early in the game. We missed 12 points off layups that we should’ve made. We could have been right there.”
Karson King led four Jackson players in double figures with 19 points. Calvin Lysell added 13 points. Connor Shepard scored 12 points. Blake Reynolds had 10 points.