With a starting frontcourt that stands 6-9, 6-8 and 6-6, it’s easy to overlook Long Island Lutheran’s 5-11 point guard Brandon Jacobs. Do so at your own peril.
Jacobs, whose games lacks pizzazz but not polish, who produces points but doesn’t earn style points, scored 25, including five threes, and added nine assists to lead Lutheran to a 64-60 non-league victory Friday night over host Half Hollow Hills East.
“His position is point guard, but he’s a little odd in that he’s not the most vocal kid,” Lutheran coach John Buck said. “He’s steady and unselfish. He makes the right play.”
And Jacobs, a senior, made them at the right time in helping the Crusaders improve to 2-0 against a scrappy Hills East team that lost for the first time in three games. The Thunderbirds erased a nine-point third-quarter deficit behind the play of guards Justin Crittendon (23 points) and Savion Lewis (18 points) to tie it at 40 with 2:47 left in the third.
Lutheran then closed out the quarter with 10 straight points. Jacobs had a hand in all of them. He fed 6-8 Donatas Kupsas (eight points, 10 rebounds) for a turnaround in the lane, went coast to coast after a Hills East turnover, and drained back-to-back threes for a 50-40 advantage.
The Thunderbirds never seriously threatened after that, falling behind 61-48 with 2:53 left on Jacobs’ dish to 6-9 Essam Mostafa (nine points, 12 rebounds). They made it close with a flurry of free throws in the final minute. Jacobs sank both ends of a one-and-one with 14 seconds left for the Crusaders’ final points. He had scored their first six on a pair of set shots from downtown to start the game.
“I consider myself a scorer, but I don’t mind passing,” Jacobs said. “If they give me the shot, I’ll take it. Donatas and I are the team leaders, but I feel like I control the show.”
That explains why Jacobs controlled the action late in the third quarter. “I felt I had to step up and do whatever it took,” he said.
Buck said Jacobs is a more confident player this season, and learned a lot playing the last two years with Devonte Green, who currently is playing at Indiana. “Brandon knows there is a lot on his shoulders this year,” Buck said. “He’s always been a good shooter, but he knows he needs to drill a couple of more each game for us.”