CLAYTON — Cleveland guard Chase Jackson decided to have Senior Night a few days early.
Jackson, the lone senior in the Rams’ starting lineup, poured in 23 points Monday night to lead Cleveland to a wild 48-46 victory over Smithfield-Selma that wasn’t settled until a jump shot by the Spartans that would have tied the score and sent the game into overtime was ruled no good.
“I knew it was going to be a big game and I knew we were going to have to play tough tonight,” Jackson said. “We did that and came out with the win.”
It wasn’t settled until the final second. Literally.
Sean Early put Cleveland (12-9, 6-2 Two Rivers 3A) up 48-46 on a basket with 45 seconds left.
Both teams missed shots and Smithfield-Selma had a couple of chances in the final five seconds to tie the score. A flurry of shots underneath the basket resulted in a jump ball after a battle for a rebound and the possession arrow was pointing to Smithfield-Selma with 2.5 seconds left.
A lob on the inbounds found the mark, but the Spartans missed a shot inside and after a scramble the Spartans got off a jump shot as time expired. The ball swished through the basket and all eyes turned to the referees, who signaled that the basket was too late to count.
“We tried our best, but we just let them hang around,” Cleveland coach John Jacobs said. “We didn’t shoot free throws good at all down the stretch. We had been shooting them pretty good, but it was just one of those things.
“We gutted it out and played good defense at the end. I’m happy with the win.”
Cleveland junior Bobby Stenborg, who leads the Rams in scoring with 18.1 points per game, was held to six points. Jackson picked up the scoring slack, hitting his first two 3-point attempts out of the gate to give Cleveland a 6-0 lead and kept scoring.
Jackson finished with four 3-pointers and drove hard to the basket, drawing fouls or scoring in the process.
“It was really good for Chase to step up and make some shots,” Jacobs said. “Bobby was just off a little bit and they were pressuring him on defense. Chase really had an excellent ball game.”
“Smithfield wasn’t going away without a fight,” Jackson said. “This was fun tonight. We’ve been winning a lot. I think this is the best we’ve played in my four years.”
Jeffrey David had 17 points to lead Smithfield-Selma (6-15, 3-5), scoring 13 points in the second half.