West Virginia Recruit Sparkles In Victory

West Virginia Recruit Sparkles In Victory

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gonzaga Head Coach Steve Turner challenged his seniors to prolong the season earlier this week, and the Eagles have thus far soared to the challenge

West Virginia bound center/power forward Jacob Green erupted for 18 of his game-high 22 points in the second half, as seventh-seeded Gonzaga toppled second-seeded Paul VI, 68-64, on Saturday afternoon at the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference quarterfinals.

"Once the playoffs started, I asked the seniors if they wanted this to be their last game," Turner explained. "I told them that you have to lead these guys, and tonight, they did."

As a result, Gonzaga is now halfway to a WCAC crown. The Eagles will square off against St. John's College H.S. on Sunday night in the WCAC semis.

Green was the ringleader for Gonzaga, but he had ample help from fellow seniors DeVon Barnett and Carlos Howard, as well as promising sophomore forwards Max Kenyi and Cameron Johnson.

Paul VI clung to one point leads at the half and after three quarters of play, only to see Gonzaga string together a 13-1 run to open the fourth period and assume a commanding 60-49 advantage.

Green kick-started the surge with a dunk and a pair of free throws. Johnson scored on a stickback and Kenyi scored on consecutive possessions as the lead grew to 57-49 with 5:14 to play.

Following a pair of blocked shots by Green, Johnson hit one of two from the charity stripe, and Green capped the burst with an alley-oop lay-in off a nifty Johnson feed to give the Eagles the 11-point bulge with 3:51 remaining.

The Panthers rallied with a 7-0 run of their own, capped by a Jean Cajou pull up jumper, to draw within 60-56 with 2:02 remaining. Despite some shaky moments handling the ball and suspect foul shooting, Gonzaga relied on Green to guarantee the outcome.

Green scored on a follow with 48 seconds left and converted a pair of free throws with 29 ticks remaining to give the Eagles a 68-61 lead. That proved sufficient to hold off Paul VI.

In addition to his 22-point output, Green registered eight rebounds and four blocks. Johnson, an impressive 6-4, 215 pound sophomore forward who moonlights on the gridiron at Gonzaga, collected 16 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.

Kenyi pumped in eight points and grabbed four rebounds, while the diminutive senior backcourt tandem of Howard (nine points) and Barnett (six points, three assists) also made valuable contributions.

Cajou, a 6-2 senior scorer bound for Mt. St. Mary's next year, led the Panthers with 18 points in defeat. After a strong start, 6-7 William & Mary signee Danny Sumner cooled off down the stretch, finishing with 14 points on just four of 17 shooting.

Sophomore slasher Adrian Mills was the only other Panther to hit for double figures with 11 points.

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