Jersey Mike’s Week 4 Team of the Week: Jackson Memorial

In the final games of the shortened 2021 high school basketball season in New Jersey, the Jackson Memorial boys’ basketball team had all the pieces in place to become a contender in the Shore Conference Class A South division. , as well as one of the top 10 teams in the conference overall.

At this time last year, however, the pieces still did not fit together. By mid-January 2022, however, it’s clear that the vision that sophomore coach Randy Holmes brought from his alma mater, Lakewood, is beginning to take shape.

“Guys learn to trust the process,” Holmes said. “We had to learn them and they had to teach us as coaches and the different philosophies. We made a concerted effort to put the guys in a position where they can be successful.”

Photo by Steve Meyer.

Photo by Steve Meyer.

Winners of six straight wins, Jackson Memorial picked up four wins last week against Raritan, Toms River South, Manchester and Toms River East, then opened this week with a win from behind at Brick Memorial. Three of those wins – Raritan, Manchester and Brick Memorial – were over ranked teams at the time of the win and with the Jaguars piling up wins over notable opponents, they are Jersey Mike’s fourth Team of the Week in 2022.

In the space of approximately 24 hours, Jackson Memorial moved from third place in the Class A South standings to a three-way tie for first place thanks to their victory over Brick Memorial on Monday, followed by the loss of Central Regional. against Toms River North on Tuesday.

It was the work Jackson Memorial did before Brick Memorial won, however, that earned the Jaguars Team of the Week. It started on Martin Luther King Jr. Monday, when Jackson Memorial held then-ranked No. 1. 9 Raritan to 12 points in the second half in a 53-42 win.

“We’ve got talent,” Jackson Memorial junior Samir Padilla said. “It’s all about defense. When we start making plays and forcing turnovers with our defense, we involve a lot of guys and we feed off that.”

Raritan’s win was a statement for the Jaguars, who had jumped into the Top 10 but then struggled with losses to Brick Memorial and Central. However, that only improved them to 5-4 and with a consistency yet to be proven, Jackson Memorial kept their collective foot on the gas with a win over Toms River South on Tuesday, setting up a showdown with another Top 10 side. from Shore Sports Network on Thursday, January 20.

The Jaguars knocked the Hawks out of the gate with a 10-0 run, but within the first minute of the first quarter Manchester had taken their first lead. The teams battled evenly at the end of regulation and it was Jackson Memorial who had the legs to finish the job, 60-53.

The week ended with a win over Toms River East, giving Jackson Memorial the rare 4-0 week with two wins over top-10 ranked teams on the Shore. It all fueled the start of the current week and the big win on the road against Brick Memorial. , in which the Jaguars overcame a 12-point third-quarter deficit to win, 53-45.

Last year, Jackson Memorial had its share of growing pains during Holmes’ first year as head coach, some due to his inexperience and some due to COVID restrictions. The Jaguars had a handful of senior leftovers, some emerging underclass players and a pair of transfers from Lakewood to Padilla and Respect Tyleek.

Neither Padilla nor Tyleek had as much of an impact as freshmen at Lakewood in 2019-20 due to their ineligibility due to NJSIAA transfer rules. Meanwhile, current starters Steven Bado and juniors Charlie Meglio and Keith Adame continued to gain a foothold as emerging team leaders.

With an offseason to iron out the issues and mix up Lakewood’s two transfers with program stalwarts, Jackson Memorial has set itself up for a strong start to the season that has only gotten better over the past two weeks.

“It’s our first year playing together,” Padilla said. “The first year Respect and I came here was the COVID year and it wasn’t really a real season. We’re just getting to know each other and it’s getting better every day.”

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