WEST WHITELAND>> The truly special players leave lasting memories on those who are fortunate to observe them perform. Wednesday night at Winters Gymnasium Collegium Charter star forward Duce Jackson had a night that many will remember for a long time.
Not only did Jackson hit the career 1,000 point mark early in the first period, he dominated a good West Chester Rustin team and led the Cougars to the victory, 75-70, in a thrilling nonleague clash.
Jackson scored a game high 37 points to go along with 13 rebounds and four assists as the Cougars (10-10) got out to an early lead in the second period and then had to withstand a furious Golden Knights (11-11) second half rush to secure the win.
“To hit the 1,000 point mark is truly special and a great feeling,” Jackson said. “When I think about being young and starting to play basketball and the support of may family, it is really a great feeling to do something that is not done by many people. I did not play well in our last game and i wanted to come out and lead my team against a real good team.”
Collegium Charter bolted out to a 32-27 halftime edge courtesy of Jackson’s 18 first half points and the rebounding and inside scoring of senior Trevon Mack. Mack had 14 points to go along with 13 rebounds as the Cougars owned the glass against the smaller Golden Knights.
The third period was a frantic one with the Cougars getting out to a 47-34 lead before Ian Schlesinger downed a three-ball for Rustin to make it a 47-37 game. The Golden Knights went on a late third period run to make the Cougars lead very precarious. The Golden Knights hit on 10 three-balls for the game.
Chase Hatton and Schlesinger led the charge as Hatton drained a long three-ballads Schlesinger, who led the Golden Knights with 19 points for the game, hit another three-ball. And when Sam Sproull banked in a trey at the buzzer, the Cougars lead was down to 51-48 after three periods.
The two squads battled back and forth in the fourth period with the Cougars continually getting second and this chances and making the Golden Knights pay for not rebounding the basketball. But Rustin was heating up and when Tyler Giunta scored in the lane it was a 70-68 Golden Knights lead with 1:18 to play in the fourth period.
“We knew they were a good shooting team and we knew we would have to rebound the basketball tonight,” Jackson said. “I thought we were a little tougher and more physical on the boards and that was a big part in the win.”
Jackson bailed out the Cougars again as he followed a Cougars miss to score and the game was tied 70-70 with 1:05 to play in the fourth period. The Golden Knights would not score another point however as they missed three shots in the final 1:05 of the fourth period.
Mack followed a Cougars miss to make it a 72-70 game with 54 seconds to play. The Golden Knights came down and could not convert and Jackson hauled in the rebound and hit two free throws after he was fouled for a 74-70 lead with 38 seconds to play.
The Golden knights came down the floor and Shlesinger missed on a three-ball and Mack came away with the rebound and the Golden Knights chance to move up in the District 1 5A playoff standings went up in flames.
“Duce is just such a competitor and he really wants to win,” Collegium coach Markel Jones said. “And tonight we knew they could shoot the ball and our guys did a great job on the boards. We are getting tougher as the season goes on and we are going together any just the right time. Rustin is one of the better teams around and they are going to the Ches-Mont Final Four so this was a big win for us.
“Duce and the rest of the guys want to show people that our success last year was not a one off and we are a good program.”
Collegium Charter 75, WC Rustin 70
WC RUSTIN (70) Nochumson 3 1-2 8, Giunta 4 0-0 10, Hatton 5 3-5 15, Schlesinger 8 2-4 19, Crispino 0 0-0 0, Sproull 4 0-0 10, Davis 0 0-0 0, Taross 3 0-0 8. Totals 27 6-11 70.
COLLEGIUM CHARTER (75) Schinitus 4 00-0 10, Woolfolk 0 0-0 0, Jackson 14 6-8 37, Pitt 3 2-4 9, Mack 7 0-0 14, Kiley 2 0-0 5. Totals 30 8-12 75.
WC Rustin 18 9 21 22-70
Collegium Charter 14 18 19 24-75
3-point goals: Schinitus 2, Jackson, Pitt, Kiley, Nochumson, Giunta 2, Hatton 2, Schlesinger, Sproull 2, Taross 2.