Cavaliers get split versus Lee County
Senior Juwon Jackson scored 22 points, mostly coming from point-blank range as his Cavalier teammates fed the power forward the ball right around the hoop, leading Southern Lee to a split for the season with county rival Lee County with a 52-31 win at Cavalier Court Saturday night.
The main man getting Juwon Jackson the ball in the right spots on the floor was Cavalier point guard and Juwon's twin brother Jalen Jackson.
Both Juwon and Jalen, said Southern Lee head coach Gaston Collins, do a lot more for the Cavs than the box score indicates - even when Juwon goes for 22 points and Jalen dished out eight assists.
"Jalen is so unselfish, which is great for us," Collins said. "He's got the primary ball-handling responsibility for us, so the ball is in his hands a lot.
"He does a great job making the right decisions, making the necessary passes and getting us in our offense," Collins said.
Looking for Juwon in the post is always in the Southern Lee game plan, Collins said. It worked well against the Yellow Jackets as, after a 54-51 Yellow Jacket win at Lee County in December, Southern Lee began pulling away in the second quarter this time around. Juwon Jackson scored 14 points in the first half and the Cavs led 25-13 at halftime.
"When we're able to score inside, it forces opponents to double down on Juwon and it opens up everything for us outside," Collins said. "He's a leader for us and it's not just his scoring but it's the way he plays."
After a low-scoring first eight minutes for both sides, with the Cavs up 9-4 after a quarter, Juwon Jackson scored in the paint followed by Noah Mellette hitting a three-pointer to put the Cavaliers up 14-4.
The Jackets worked their way back into the game before the Cavaliers closed the half with an 11-2 run. Juwon Jackson scored eight of the 11 points.
A half-court pace continued in the second half and with the Cavs continuing to lead by double digits, the tempo suited the Cavaliers just fine.
Mellette, a freshman guard who's been a steady scorer for the Cavs in many games this season, was the main beneficiary of Juwon Jackson's work inside. Mellette scored nine of his 13 points in the second half. The Cavs led 41-22 going to the fourth period and weren't threatened down the stretch.
Point guard Dante Graham led Lee County with 11 points. Jason Payne added seven points. T.J. Lett had a team-high six rebounds. The Yellow Jackets were without starting center Dewaun McEachin.
Lee County (9-7, 6-2) goes back into Tri-Nine play hosting Apex on Friday night.
Christian Locust added five points, while Josh McKinnon and Andre Hewitt had four points each for the Cavaliers.
"The guys are gaining more confidence," Collins said. "They're trusting our system and trusting each other more so we're finding more success. We're not where we need to be but we're getting better."
Southern Lee (6-8, 3-1) gets back to Cape Fear Valley play on Friday as well, traveling to Overhills.