Last year Graeme Jacoby was big, strong, and a force in the post.
Things haven’t changed, well except for maybe one aspect, as the Pettisville senior big man scored 22 points to lead the Blackbirds to a 57-31 romp over Montpelier in the Blackbirds opener Friday.
Jacoby scored six first quarter points on 4 of 4 from the line and a bucket when he got out front on the break.
Brother Cayden Jacoby scored on a high-low, and Max Leppelmeier and Mitchell Avina each banged home three-pointers for a 18-3 lead.
That lead ballooned to 20 when Leppelmeier hit from way above the three-point line and Graeme Jacoby again got in front on a fast break for a 25-5 margin.
“It has to start inside with Graeme and his varsity experience,” said Blackbirds’ coach Brian Leppelmeier. “One on one he has a pretty good chance at scoring the basketball. If they collapse he does a pretty good job of finding our guys spaced on the three-point line.”
A missed dunk by Jacoby that resulted in a technical foul when he hung on the rim aided a Loco run that closed the gap to 12.
Thomas Jay hit the two free throws off the technical, then two more from the line and a putback to key the surge that closed the gap to 25-13. In turn, Josh Horning stuck a corner triple just before the first half buzzer to boost the Blackbird lead to 15.
After a Blake Altaffer bucket opened the third quarter for Montpelier, Pettisville responded with a 13-0 run to put the game away with Graeme Jacoby doing most of the damage.
The 6’5” senior scored on a lob from Horning, a power move in the post, then a spin move to the rim, and capped the surge with his third fast break bucket.
“(Graeme) does a great job running the floor,” Leppelmeier stated. “He has slimmed down a little bit, I think he would be OK with me saying that, he has become a lot more mobile. Before I think we had some difficulty matching up with teams with some of our size.
“Teams would spread us out, now I think we can handle that a little bit more and hopefully get better as the season goes.”
Leppelmeier’s fourth triple and one by Isaac Reynolds put Pettisville up 47-22 after the third, and the Blackbirds took their biggest advantage with 1:57 left at 57-24 after baskets from Jaton Zuver and Gideon Myers.
Leppelmeier also hit double figures for Pettisville with 14, while no Loco hit double figures.
Pettisville was 22 of 50 for 44 percent from the floor, and had a 31-24 lead on the glass. Montpelier shot just 10 of 40 for 25 percent.
Pettisville was guilty of nine turnovers compared to 12 for Montpelier.
The Birds travel to Stryker this Thursday before hosting Hilltop on Saturday.
Reach Joe Blystone at firstname.lastname@example.org