North Marion eases past West Port

Jackson's 23 points lead Colts past Wolf Pack

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Posted December 14, 2023 | Photos By Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette
By Mark Pinson/Special to the Ocala Gazette

In a fast-paced, up-tempo game, North Marion, led by sophomore guard Jerdarrius Jackson’s game-high 23 points, held off a scrappy West Port squad by a score of 62-48 on Thursday night.

The hard-fought and physical win improved the Class 4A Colts to 3-2 on the season.

“Definitely a great battle,” said North Marion coach Timothy Yarn. “We made some shots in the second half and just scrapped and fought and clawed until the end. We’re still trying to find our chemistry, still trying to put it together, but I love the way the guys played together and came away with a victory.”

The loss dropped the Class 7A Wolf Pack, which had a number of layups go in and out of the basket and committed 23 turnovers, to 5-3 overall.

“The kids fought hard but North Marion is a tough team, they moved the ball really well and screened well,” said first-year West Port coach Bruce Teachey. “They made some 3-pointers down the stretch that killed us. The turnovers hurt us, I think we get a little too anxious in our half-court sets, we don’t run our offense as well and that’s on me. We missed a bunch of layups and it’s a learning experience for the kids and me.”

The first quarter was evenly matched as West Port senior Dylan Luke drilled a 3-pointer as part of an eight-point night, while Jackson scored six of his points to give the Colts a slim 12-11 lead heading to the second period.

North Marion junior guard Coy Sizemore got hot from outside and poured in nine of his 18 points, including a 3-pointer from the right baseline to give the Colts a 19-13 lead midway through the quarter.

West Port answered as Handel Rivera and Stefon Colbert knocked down a pair of 3-pointers to tie the game at 19.

North Marion’s Sizemore swished a jumper and scored on a layup at the buzzer to put the Colts on top by a score of 23-19 at the half.

The third quarter belonged to Jackson, who scored 11 points on strong drives to the basket and a pair of 3-pointers. Daniel Booker made a 3-pointer and was fouled at the buzzer to give the Colts a comfortable 43-32 lead heading to the final eight minutes.

West Port battled back as senior guard Ronald Graham buried back-to-back 3-pointers to pull the Wolf Pack within 48-42 with 5:15 left in the period.

Once again, it was Jackson who stepped up for North Marion by scoring six points, while junior guard Brenden Barber added six of his nine points on a pair of long 3-pointers to make it 55-45 with 2:24 left in the game.

West Port refused to quit and made one last run as Demetrius Brown scored five of his team-high 12 points.

But North Marion, which snapped a two-game losing streak, ran clock with each possession and converted its free throws to seal the victory.

“With our lack of size, we have to create some offensive opportunities with our defense and I think we did a real good job of that tonight,” coach Yarn said. “When Jerdarrius and Coy play like they did tonight we ‘re tough to beat.”

North Marion is back in action on Dec. 21 with a home game against Menedez High School (St. Augustine).

West Port hosts Wildwood on Monday night.

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