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Rebounding against Cougars : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Rebounding against Cougars
After two losses, Oswego boys' basketball team wins SPC opener

by Kristin Sharp


After an undefeated run through the Southwest Prairie Conference last year, the Oswego boys' basketball team entered a new season with a large target on their backs.

The Panthers hosted Plainfield South last Friday to open league play and had little trouble with the Cougars, winning 79-57 to improve to 3-2 overall. The win also snapped a two-game skid at the end of the Hoops for Healing Tournament.

"We played a great game," Oswego head coach Kevin Schnable said. "It was just a nice night. We put them through the ringer this week as far as work and we're in bounce-back mode from the Thanksgiving tournament. We talked about and worked on what we feel is important to us and establishing what we stand for. We transferred that to the game. Defensively, we've been giving up an average of 72 points and that's not who we are. That was a focal point this week - defensive rebounding - and we held them to the low 50s and beat them on the boards by 20-plus. We're really happy with our guys and very proud of them."

Oswego junior Ryan West (21 points, 11 rebounds) put the Panthers on the scoreboard first with an early layup. Plainfield South's Jacob Buchner, who scored six points in the opening period, put consecutive baskets in for the Cougars and completed a three-point play to give Plainfield South a 7-4 lead.

West answered with a three-pointer and junior Javon Jones (eight points) had a driving layup for a 9-7 Oswego lead. The Panthers would never relinquish their lead again, and senior Jamon Ross converted on a layup at the buzzer to give Oswego an 18-9 lead at the end of the first period.

"We really focused a lot on defense and rebounding because we struggled with that early in the Thanksgiving tournament and we went out and beat them on the boards, so that's really good. It gives us a big confidence boost going into the next couple weeks," West said.

Freshman Jaylen Jones (15 points, four assists) scored from behind the arc early in the second period and sophomore Steven Frank (10 rebounds) was good for one at the free-throw line before his field goal moments later to give Oswego a 24-13 lead.

Jaylen Jones is settling nicely into the Oswego starting lineup, now five games into his varsity debut and averaging 8.6 points per game and 3.6 rebounds."

"Knowing the personality of the player will help what they'll do on the court," said Jaylen Jones. "The (older) guys have been telling me, 'Do what I do. Don't try to overdo everything.' I have to stay within my boundaries and work within the team."

Senior Jason Koesler (12 points) came off the bench to hit his first of three three-pointers and Oswego led 30-15 with 4:45 to play in the first half.

Jaylen Jones was good for three with 2:33 to play and then assisted Frank's layup, and Plainfield South head coach Tim Boe called a timeout with the Cougars trailing 39-20 with under 2:00 to play in the half.

Jaylen Jones assisted West's next three-pointer for a 42-20 lead and the Panthers went into intermission with a 44-28 lead.

"Jaylen met the expectations of what we look for in our point guard. He played a great game," Schnable said.

West's first basket of the second half lifted Oswego to an 18-point lead, 46-28, but Plainfield South began to chip away at its deficit thanks to a nine-point effort from Miles Snowden during the third period.

"They're young, and coach Schnable is a great coach so we know they're going to get better every game. We had some film on them from their last game, but just within that week a lot of their players seem to be playing with a lot more confidence than a week ago," Boe said. "We just couldn't get over the hump and cut it to 10."

An eight-point run by the Cougars cut Oswego's lead to 55-43, but the Panthers responded West rebounded a missed three-pointer and sank the field goal at the buzzer for a 59-43 lead entering the fourth period.

"They're usually a big rebounding team and they have a couple leapers in our scouting report and we did a good job boxing them out,"_West said. "We drove the ball, which got them into foul trouble, which really frustrated them."

West, however, drew his fourth foul to start the final quarter of play, but Oswego did not skip a beat. West sank a three-pointer following Jaylen Jones' steal to put Oswego ahead 62-45 and sophomore Brice Robinson scored a putback before making one at the free-throw line for a 67-47 lead.

Schnable put his starters on the bench with Oswego leading 73-53, and Kosler hit two more three-pointers in the closing 45 seconds to seal the Panthers' 20-point win.

Oswego will travel to Plainfield Central on Friday for a 6:30 p.m. SPC game.

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