TRAVERSE CITY — Three games, three wins.
The East Jordan Red Devils rolled into Traverse City and beat St. Francis for the third time this season, handing the Gladiators a 67-57 loss in a Class C regional semifinal Monday night.
East Jordan sophomore Jordan Weber owned the perimeter, hitting six 3-pointers and finishing with 28 points. Teammate Noah Bacchus ended the night with 19 points.
St. Francis hung with their Lake Michigan Conference rivals through the first quarter, only trailing by six at the first intermission, 23-17. But East Jordan held the Gladiators to just nine points in the second quarter, taking a 43-26 lead into the locker room at halftime. The Red Devils never looked back.
Earlier this season, East Jordan (18-4) broke a losing streak against St. Francis (12-12) that stretched back about a decade. Two keys to this season’s victories have been ball movement and guard play, Red Devils coach Darrin Weber said.
“I’ve got the tools to handle the press a little bit better than we’ve ever had in the past and I’ve got two of the best guards, I think, in northern Michigan in Noah (Bacchus) and Donny (Cutler),” Darrin Weber said. “They’re so fast and they play under control for the most part, and they do a lot of things well together. We were talking about how we hoped (St. Francis) would press us because that opens up a lot of things for other people to shoot the ball.”
Finding an open Jordan Weber in the back court — even if he was three to four feet beyond the 3-point arc — was part of the game plan for East Jordan.
“When he’s feeling it I’m not going to tell him not to shoot it, because I’ve seen him knock those shots down before,” Darrin Weber said.