The 5-11 shooting guard for the Patriots tallied 32 points two nights before at Abington and was on his way to a similar performance in last Friday night’s Suburban One League (SOL) Continental battle with North Penn.
He’s Central Bucks East junior Joe Jackman playing in his first starting role for the Patriots. Jackman had already canned 13 points when he scooped up a ball that had come halfway loose and hurled it desperately toward the rim with time winding down in the first half.
Lo and behold, the rock dropped, putting the visiting Pats on top 36-22 heading into the locker room.
“They call him Joey Buckets for a reason,” said CB East senior Chris Charlton.
“He just has something about him; every shot he takes has a chance of going in.
“When that fell in, we just knew that he was on tonight.”
Adding to a trio of 3-pointers in the first half, Jackman poured three more treys into the basket in the third quarter, putting the Patriots on top 55-34 heading into the final frame.
Coming off a heartbreaking overtime loss to three-time District One 6A champion Abington, CB East (3-4, 1-2 SOL) finally had itself a league win, to the tune of a resounding 70-47 triumph over the Knights.
“We played three really good quarters against (Abington) and we had like a 16-point lead near the end of the third quarter,” said Charlton. “It was disappointing that we didn’t close that game out.
“We blew that game in the fourth (quarter).
“So when we went up in this game, we didn’t settle, we didn’t relax. We knew we had to keep extending (the lead) and try to get it up to 15 or 20 (points) and put the game away.”
The Patriots opened the league skirmish with an 11-2 scoring string and were up by nine by the end of the initial frame. Five of CB East’s eight field goals in the first quarter were 3-pointers.
The Pats poured 11 – count ’em – 3-pointers through the rim in the contest to just one shot made from beyond the arc by the Knights. East shot 11-for-20 from 3-point range and shot over 60 percent from the floor for the game.
While North Penn closed the gap to seven midway through the second period, a key point in the battle came midway through the second period when the Knights tossed up a half-dozen shots on a single possession only to come away with no points after being called for traveling.
The Patriots took full advantage with junior Jack Hamilton canning a trey and Jackman adding a 3-point play and a trey of his own to put CB East up 33-20.
Widening the gap to 17 points, senior Tyler Young opened the second half with a 3-point play.
While North Penn closed its deficit to 41-31 in the third quarter, a 3-pointer by Charlton – he had two in the game – and two more by Jackman – he canned six treys – extended the Patriots’ edge to 19 at 53-34.
East went up by 25 with 3-and-1/2 minutes to go and this duel, for all intents and purposes, was over.
Jackman led all scorers with 33 points while Charlton added 10 to the Patriots’ cause. Hamilton added eight points for CB East on four field goals. Senior Rob Carangi led the Knights with 13 points while junior Josh Jones and senior Kolby Barrow added nine points, each.
Before falling at the hands of the Ghosts, the Patriots had dropped league battles with CB South and CB West. As a unit, the members of the squad felt like their defense wasn’t playing up to snuff.
“We had put up some points in a fair amount of those games and we felt our defense was the problem,” said Charlton. “Yesterday in practice, we really honed in on that and we held (North Penn) under 50 (points) so I felt we did a great job.”
Going up against the Knights is no easy task. North Penn possesses a pair of junior forwards in Jones and Carangi who both stand over 6-foot, 5-inches tall along with 6-foot-6 senior center Matt Swanson (eight points). Keeping the trio away from the rim was paramount to a CB East victory.
“We like to front the post and take away the lane and we practice that all season long – fronting the post and not letting them get in there,” explained Charlton. “It’s almost like second nature; once it’s in the game, we can show other teams that we like crowding the lane and they’re not going to want to go in there.”
Graduation depleted the ranks with the loss of three starters so the Patriots entered the season with several question marks. Gone were forwards Ben Markowitz and Nick Roggio, along with guard Leo Masterson. At 6-foot-5, Roggio was the big man in the middle, Masterson was first team All-SOL and Markowitz was capable of putting up double digits the way he did in a double OT win over CB West that took place this time last year.
“They were really good players last year but once we lost in the playoffs, we turned the page quickly,” explained Charlton. “All of us are stepping up equally and I feel like we all put in a lot of work in the offseason so that we can all carry the load.
“They were three people who were very experienced who had been through a lot of the battles before.
“We don’t have as much experience but we’re starting to get it.”
Though the overtime loss at Abington still stings, Charlton says East learned something in the battle with the Ghosts.
“We know that even though we’re 3-4, we’re better than our record shows and that we can play with any team in this league,” added Charlton. “When we lose, more often than not, it’s on us and mistakes that we made that are self-inflicted.
“We just have to close out and do all the little things.”
It certainly appears the Patriots did everything right last week at North Penn.
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