Santa Margarita’s Jackson stays true to game in MVP performance
ORANGE, Calif. — Santa Margarita power forward Adrease Jackson foreshadowed his performance in the third annual Open Gym Premier high school senior All-Star Game to perfection.
“I’ve just gotta keep grabbing offensive and defensive rebounds,” Jackson said Thursday at the All-Star Game practice. “That’s what I’ve been known to do.”
Jackson snatched plenty of offensive and defensive boards Saturday night at Santiago Canyon College, leading the South to a 123-199 victory over the North with 22 points and a game-high 10 rebounds in his MVP performance.
Jackson, who will be playing his college basketball at Dartmouth, said there is no other way he wanted to end his high school career.
“It was an awesome experience and the best way to end my senior season,” he said after the game. “The crowd was great and the competition was great and that’s all I could ask for.”
Villa Park point guard Myles Franklin, who scored 13 points for the North in a losing effort, had a similar sentiment to that of Jackson.
“I have some bad luck or something,” Franklin joked. “We were just trying to go out and have some fun, but we were down 20 and came back and almost won.
The first half of play, in which the South led the North, 61-51, was dictated by the play off the bench of St. Margaret’s guard and Chapman-bound scorer Tyler Horgan who scored 15 of his team-high 23 points in the first half.
Stanford-bound forward KZ Okpala, who garnered many of the end of season awards in Orange County and won the All-Star Game Slam Dunk Contest, had 13 points in the first half for the North, while Foothill guard Paulo Araujo was scorching from 3-point range, draining four 3-pointers for his 12 points through the first 20 minutes of play.
Los Alamitos guard Joe Riley came out of the gates hot in the second half, scoring seven quick points to help the South extend its lead to 17, which then turned into a 20-point advantage, 104-84, midway through the second half.
North coach Mike Murphy (Sonora) called for time as he sensed his team’s focus wavering and put on a full-court press and trap defense which surprised the South and forced a number of turnovers.
“Coach Murphy told us to trap the first pass,” Franklin said. “We were playing like an AAU team and you really don’t see that in an All-Star game, but we could see his will to win the game.”
Okpala, who finished with a game-high 31 points, began to capitalize on those mistakes and cut the North’s deficit to five, 119-114, with 30.8 seconds left.
After a bucket from the South, Okpala hit another 3-pointer to bring the North to within four, 121-117, with 8.4 seconds to play.
South coach Chris Zeller (Mission Viejo) called a timeout to set up an inbounds play that got the ball into the hands of Edison guard Randall Walker.
The North only had four team fouls at the time of Zeller’s timeout and had to foul Walker three times before sending him to the free throw line for a one-plus-one with 3.8 seconds to play.
Walker nailed both clutch free throws to give the South a 2-1 lead over the North in OGP All-Star Game matchups.
South – 123
Tyler Horgan (St. Margaret’s) – 23 points
Adrease Jackson (Santa Margarita) – 22 points, 10 rebounds
Joseph Riley (Los Alamitos) – 15 points
Randall Walker (Edison) – 13 points
Kaden Rasheed (Santa Margarita) – 12 points
Nate Matthews (Edison) – 11 points
Arthur Weimholt (Mission Viejo) – 8 points
Michael Bagatourian (Crean Lutheran) – 7 points
Blake Birmingham (San Clemente) – 6 points
Justin McCallop (Tesoro) – 6 points
North – 119
KZ Okpala (Esperanza) – 31 points
Paulo Araujo (Foothill) – 17 points
Chris Williams (Orange Lutheran) – 14 points
Myles Franklin (Villa Park) – 13 points
Ramon Lopez-Felix (Godinez) – 12 points
Luke Ross (Sunny Hills) – 9 points
Kevin Marlow (Sonora) – 8 points
Romulo Howard (Savanna) 7 points
Austin Carter (Sonora) – 6 points
Jacob Lord (Servite) – 2 points
Slam Dunk Contestants
Slam Dunk Finalists
KZ Okpala (Champion)