PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Christopher’s basket hands JCC victoryWINDOM — Taylor Christopher scored 22 points, dished out six assists and hit a go-ahead runner in the lane with 8 seconds remaining in the second half Friday night, lifting the Jackson County Central Huskies to an exciting 62-60 victory over the Windom Eagles in a hard-fought Southwest Conference boys basketball game.
By: Lucas Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WINDOM — Taylor Christopher scored 22 points, dished out six assists and hit a go-ahead runner in the lane with 8 seconds remaining in the second half Friday night, lifting the Jackson County Central Huskies to an exciting 62-60 victory over the Windom Eagles in a hard-fought Southwest Conference boys basketball game.
Christopher’s basket was followed by a buzzer-beating 3-point attempt from Windom’s Nathan Remmers. The potential game-winning shot was on-target, but was a bit too strong and bounced off the back rim as JCC prevailed in a thriller.
The Huskies’ win also featured a 15-point, 16-rebound double-double from Jon Harmening and steady production from the rest of the team, as 10 players contributed for JCC in the physical ballgame between the two long-time rivals.
“I thought that we played tough as a team and found a way to earn a much-needed win,” JCC head coach Trent Sukalski said. “This was a fun game between two very evenly-matched teams and really could have gone either way. It was a typical ballgame between JCC and Windom, that’s for sure.”
The win snapped a three-game losing streak for JCC (3-3, 1-3), which opened the season with a pair of non-conference victories before beginning league action.
Windom (2-4, 1-3), which had four players score in double figures, bolted to a 12-4 lead out of the gate. Andy Pfeffer (15 points, six assists) and Jacob Gotto (12 points) each had an early 3-point play, while Collin Lovell (16 points, six rebounds) stroked a smooth 3-pointer from the top of the key to spark the Eagles 4 minutes in.
Remmers (12 points, eight rebounds) gave Windom a 14-6 lead when he leaped and scored inside on a transition play at the 12:28 mark, as the Eagles started strong.
“That was a great way to start the game for us,” Windom head coach Dane Nielsen said. “We hit some shots and ran the floor well, but unfortunately those things didn’t always happen throughout the rest of the game. We didn’t shoot well overall and weren’t very aggressive for the most part.”
JCC’s Josh Thaemlitz converted a steal into a basket to make it 14-8, and the Huskies then scored 16 of the next 23 points to take a 24-21 lead with 4:19 remaining.
Christopher fueled that nine-point burst with 11 points for the Huskies, dialing in a right-wing 3-pointer, scoring on a pair of nifty open-court drives, sinking two free throws and also taking a steal in for a layup.
Austin Hinkeldey (seven points) knocked down a shot from the right elbow, and Shadrack Wacker (five points) connected on an open 3-pointer from the right wing to account for JCC’s other five points in that span.
Lovell answered with a 3-pointer from the left corner, while baskets from Remmers (putback) and Pfeffer (floater) later helped Windom regain a 28-25 lead at the 2:08 mark.
Harmening scored down low off a penetrating assist from Christopher, and Hinkeldey meshed a 3-pointer from the right corner in the final 1:40, as the score was knotted at 30 heading into the halftime break.
Pfeffer started the second half with a left-wing 3-pointer just 9 seconds in and later hit a 15-footer from the right wing, but JCC stayed close behind a driving basket by Darnell Taylor-Breck (seven points) and a mid-range shot from Nolan Hohenstein.
The Huskies actually opened up a 41-35 lead with 13:06 left, as Harmening’s kick pass to Christopher for a 3-pointer and Hinkeldey’s baseline pass to Wacker for a layup in transition sparked JCC.
Another nice pass by Hinkeldey to Harmening for a bucket underneath made it 43-37, while a coast-to-coast layup off a steal by Christopher helped give the Huskies their largest lead (47-40) with 9:34 remaining.
“We can score when we pass the ball well,” Sukalski said. “We did a lot of good things and claimed a nice cushion there, but Windom came right back at us.”
Lovell buried back-to-back long 3-pointers from the exact same spot — well beyond the arc on the right wing — to suddenly make it 47-46.
After Hohenstein scored on a strong move inside, an exchange of 3-pointers from Pfeffer and Taylor-Breck left JCC with a 52-49 lead at the 7:28 mark.
Remmers then scored twice to put Windom ahead 53-52 with 5:38 left, taking a press-breaking pass from Pfeffer and also hustling for an offensive rebound to help the Eagles regain an edge.
“We stayed in the game by working hard and being scrappy,” Nielsen said. “We played with a lot of heart and desire to work our way back, hanging in there until the end. We came up a bit short, but it sure was a fun game to be a part of.”
A driving basket by Christopher and two free throws by Hinkeldey put JCC up 56-53 with 4:26 to go, but Gotto countered with a 3-pointer 30 seconds later to tie it at 56.
The next six points came from the free-throw line, as 2-for-2 trips by both Taylor-Breck and Harmening offset Pfeffer’s foul shots to leave the Huskies with a 60-58 lead at the 2:42 mark.
Remmers tied it at 60 with a 12-footer along the right baseline with 1:52 showing, and then both teams missed out on several chances to take the lead.
JCC took a timeout with 37 seconds left and worked the clock down, taking a 62-60 lead on Christopher’s tough runner in the lane with 8 seconds remaining.
Windom had time and got a good look from Remmers at the buzzer, but the shot didn’t fall as JCC escaped.
Jackson County Central 62,
Windom Area 60
JCC (3-3, 1-3): Christopher 8 4-4 22, Wacker 2 0-0 5, Thaemlitz 1 0-0 2, Hinkeldey 2 2-5 7, Harmening 4 7-9 15, Taylor-Breck 2 2-2 7, Hohenstein 2 0-0 4. Totals: 21 15-20 62.
Windom (2-4, 1-3): A. Pfeffer 5 3-4 15, Johnson 1 0-0 2, T. Bever 1 0-0 2, Gotto 4 1-1 12, B. Bever 0 1-2 1, Lovell 5 2-2 16, Remmers 6 0-0 12. Totals: 22 7-9 60.
Halftime: JCC 30, Windom 30. 3-point goals: JCC 5 (Christopher 2, Wacker, Hinkeldey, Taylor-Breck); Windom 9 (Lovell 4, Gotto 3, A. Pfeffer 2).