Freshman John-Paul Ricks hit two free throws with 17.3 seconds remaining to help Jehovah-Jireh beat visiting Crescent City Christian 66-63 Tuesday night in a rematch of last season's Division V state boys basketball final.
Jehovah-Jireh defeated Crescent City 65-49 in the state final. Both squads returned key players from last season.
Ricks scored six of his team-high 19 points in the fourth quarter. Timothy Jackson, a 6-foot-4 senior, added 18 points and 16 rebounds for the 1-0 Warriors.
Byron Joshua, a 5-10 junior, scored 11 of his game-high 24 points in the first quarter for Crescent City (1-1). Jordin Farrell added 11 points and 6-5 Glenn Rhore had 10.
Both teams struggled at the free-throw line. Jehovah-Jireh hit 21 of 37 and CC was 19 of 33.
Jackson was slowed by leg cramps and Jaron Davis, a 5-9 senior guard, battled foul trouble.
“I’m proud of the younger kids who stepped up and played well,” Jehovah-Jireh coach Dirk Ricks said. “We picked up our pace in the second half. We didn’t take care of the ball very well or shoot free throws well. Hopefully we’ll see Crescent City in the state championship game again. We have a really tough schedule that should prepare us for that.”
Jackson scored six points in the second quarter as the Warriors led 29-24 at the half. Crescent City tied the contest at 36 in the third quarter.
Jackson drove for a three-point play to put the Warriors up 38-36 with 3:17 remaining. Joshua hit two free throws to cut the deficit to 39-38. JJCA got a 3-pointer from Jayquan Davis, Jackson hit two free throws and Jaron Davis hit a layup to complete a 7-0 run.
John-Paul Ricks scored on a drive with 4:58 remaining in the contest as the Warriors had their largest lead at 56-43. Keane Smith and Farrell hit 3-pointers to pull Crescent City within 60-58 with one minute remaining.
Roderick Dominique hit a contested layup and two of three free throws in a sequence that included a technical foul and ended up as a four-point play and a 64-58 advantage. Crescent City hit 5 of 7 free throws in the final minute to pull within 64-63. Ricks then hit his two free throws and Crescent City missed three field goals.
Crescent City coach Shaun Dumas said his team had to play at a slower pace because of early foul trouble.
“I think we played well in spurts,” Dumas said. “We usually shoot the 3 well, but didn’t tonight. It’s always going to be a great game when we play Jehovah-Jireh. We look forward to seeing them again in the playoffs.”