SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – La Verne Lutheran (La Verne, Calif.) forward Grant Jerrett had to make an adjustment.
In the first half of the Trojans’ game against St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.), Jerrett couldn’t find a way through their zone double team designed to eliminate his effectiveness.
“They did a really good job,” said Jerrett, a senior who is signed to Arizona. “I knew that I had to step through better, and once I did that I was able to get it going.”
Jerrett scored 30 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Trojans past the Celtics, 68-66, in overtime Saturday at the Spalding Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass.
Eric Cooper Jr. added 17 points and five rebounds and Elijah Davis led St. Patrick with 25 points and 11 rebounds.
“It was a great win for our team,” said La Verne Lutheran coach Eric Cooper Sr. “Just to come out here at a quality event like this and get a win really separates us and keeps us moving toward where we want to be.”
Neither team could separate itself in the first half, but the Celtics rode the hot hand of Jared Nickens to who knocked down three 3-pointers in route to 11 first half points to give St. Patrick a 29-25 lead, despite committing 10 turnovers.
“It’s just two great teams playing,” Jerrett said. “Sometimes it’s hard to shake people. We knew that it would come down to the wire just by the way the game was going.”
Late in the fourth quarter, Cameron Osorno drained a corner 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down to give Lutheran a two-point lead. The Trojans could only increase that lead to three down the stretch and with 7.1 seconds left in the game, DeAndre Bembry drained a 3-pointer from the left corner to send the game to overtime.
Both teams traded baskets for most of the overtime period, but in the last minute Jerrett threw down a monster dunk, sent Davis’ layup flying, secured a key rebound and knocked down two free throws to secure the win.
“I knew I’d have to come up big if we were gonna get the win,” Jerrett said. “I’m just glad that I was able to make big plays down the stretch. It’s a great win.”