Swartz Creek overcomes turnovers to beat Lapeer West despite Zeshawn Parker-Jones’ big game

Posted: December 18, 2010 by Patrick Hayes in High School

Zeshawn Parker-Jones (left) could have the best hands of any player in the area.

Swartz Creek’s basketball team had an uncharacteristic 28 turnovers Friday against Lapeer West (Creek averaged 13 TOs a game last year). The team’s leading scorers, Logan Hull and Joe Seitz, who came into the game averaging a combined 41 points per game, only scored a combined 18 points. Lapeer West had a season-best effort from Zeshawn Parker-Jones, who scored 20 points and was a force on the offensive glass all night. And still, Swartz Creek was able to prevail for two reasons: superior defensive toughness and more depth.

West’s Cullen Turczyn, who along with Parker-Jones is one of the best sophomores in the area, struggled shooting the ball early. He finished with 14 points, but scored only six until the fourth quarter. The reason he was held in check was because of the defensive job done by Jarod Jones. Jones forced Turczyn into contested shots through three quarters and did a good job staying with the quick PG, known for his shooting stroke and ball-handling.

And make no mistake — Turczyn can handle it. A couple Swartz Creek defenders had their ankles bent on some of Turczyn’s drives. But keeping him from getting good looks early in the game helped Creek keep a lead most of the game, until West briefly went ahead by two in the final minute of the fourth. Creek tied it, then Hull, who finished with 13, hit the game-winner with :06 seconds left.

Swartz Creek was impressive because the team was able to overcome so many mistakes with the ball — many of the 28 turnovers were unforced — by being physical at the defensive end, which is kind of a staple of Jeremy Trent-coached teams. And although Hull didn’t score in the first 13 minutes of the game, he finished strong, making several plays in the second half. Hull doesn’t wow you in any one facet of the game. He’s just solid all-around. He has good range, he’s crafty around the basket and he’s really good at drawing contact. It would’ve been hard to sustain his 25.3 points per game pace over the course of an entire Metro League season, where many teams will play at a mind-numbingly slow pace, so I do expect some falloff in his numbers, but he’s an intelligent player who will get points by being in the right spot, not forcing things when a shot isn’t there and always being willing to take the big shot, as he did Friday.

Seitz, who has a nice shooting stroke but just had an off-night, Jones, Max Cummings (led team with 14 points), Jordan Seath, David Withey … the list of solid guys who play hard and are committed on defense just goes on for Swartz Creek. Nine of the 11 Dragons who played in the game scored points. I’m not sure many coaches in the Metro League can go nine or 10 deep on a given night and get solid production from everyone the way Swartz Creek did against West.

The most impressive player on the floor, however, was Parker-Jones. I watched him a lot last year, both during the season and in AAU and was always impressed with how calm he played as a freshman on varsity. He never seems intimidated, he never seems rattled and last year, as a sub, he was able to come off the bench and consistently make plays for West.

This year, he’s taken a giant leap with his game. He might have the best hands of any frontcourt player in the area (not surprising considering he’s a fantastic wide receiver on West’s football team). Against Swartz Creek, he caught passes in traffic by snaring high ones that were over his head, corralling  low ones and tipping errant ones multiple times to himself until he was able to haul them in. To miss Parker-Jones with a pass, it has to be a pretty bad one.

Those same skills make him a good offensive rebounder. He’s a high leaper when he needs to reach for the ball, but he’s also a quick jumper, a more necessary skill in rebounding than being able to jump out of the gym. Several times, he batted the ball around on an errant shot, came up with it and finished quickly against Swartz Creek.

With Turczyn and Jones-Parker, West has two of the best young players in the area. John Amboy, a big man with a nice stroke from 3-point range, and David Price, a strong bruiser on defense, are both good role players who compliment the skills of Turczyn and Parker-Jones well. The problem for West, however, is that there is a precipitous dropoff when the team switches from its first unit to second unit. Any time Turczyn was out of the game, Swartz Creek’s defense made it really hard for West to advance the ball. Any time Parker-Jones was out of the game, Swartz Creek was able to attack the basket and get good looks inside.

Swartz Creek proved last season that consistent defense and effort can make any team a league title contender, and the Dragons (although they will certainly miss last year’s league-leading scorer Cody Campbell) are going to be among the league’s best again if they can fix the early-season turnover issue. West’s top four give them enough talent to be competitive with any team in the league, but at some point, the team will need some production off the bench to win games against teams like Swartz Creek, Fenton and Holly.

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Comments
  1. Jared Field says:

    Z is going to be a great player. He’s really tough around the basket.

  2. Once Z develops a mean streak….look out!

  3. David Ledington says:

    I might b a little bias , but Z has has unbelievable hands & his game is just starting to come together. He is gonna be one of the best players in the area by time he is done. He has a great coach & staff at West. Coach Roberts is bringing him around at a perfect pace. Keep your eyes on this kid. The best is yet to come. This kid is just a sophomore! Look out Flint Metro

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