Jordan plays big role in ICCP win vs. St. Francis
At 5-foot-8 IC Catholic Prep junior guard Zach Jordan might not be the most physically imposing player on the basketball court.
But don't let that fool you. He's always around the ball, and he makes big plays.
Case in point: Jordan led all scorers with 18 points Tuesday in a 64-59 Metro Suburban Blue victory over St. Francis.
He hit a key 3-pointer from the left corner with 7:40 left in the game to give the Knights a lead they never relinquished. Then, after a Spartans bucket, he got fouled beyond the 3-point arc and sank all three free throws to advance the lead to 50-47.
With 10.2 seconds left he was at it again, hitting a pair of free throws to ice the game.
In all he hit a trio of 3-pointers and went a perfect 5 for 5 from the free-throw line -- all in the fourth quarter to help the Knights improve to 4-2 overall (1-1 in the MSC Blue).
"We're very high on Zach, and he's looked outstanding in practice," said ICCP coach T.J. Tyrrell, who played all nine players he suited up. "He had a few jitters in the early games. He was struggling to find a rhythm, and we knew Zach was going to be a key guy for us, and he showed it tonight on what he did and the type of player he is."
From Jordan's standpoint, forget the stats and the big shots. Forget the fact that he was constantly around the ball, which gave him the opportunity to snag 4 rebounds.
Focus on the team.
"Really, I just had to make sure I stayed aggressive, but the credit goes to my coaches and teammates who did a great job getting me the ball," Jordan said. "It was a big win. It was a big one for us to come out here and beat a good team like St. Francis."
Not bad, considering the Spartans seemed to be one step ahead of the Knights for the first three quarters. They had 1-point leads at the end of the second and third quarters, and even late in the fourth it looked like St. Francis might just have enough to slip away with the win.
It wasn't to be, but credit the Spartans' bench mob, which contributed 31 points -- 14 from junior forward Robert Nocek, along with 5 rebounds, and 13 from senior forward Marcus Ingold. Junior Eric Welch chipped in 4 points.
"Marcus has been doing a really good job coming off the bench for us," St. Francis coach Erin Dwyer said. "He's coming off a really good football season, and he's kind of carried that into us, so he gives us a big spark. He just plays so hard, it's hard not to get him out there."
Regarding Nocek, he said: "He stepped up big-time against Naperville North, rebounding, defensively. He's a junior with a load of potential. He's come a long way."
Still, it was a loss, which wasn't easy for Nocek.
"We gave it our all," he said. "There's nothing more to say. We fought and battled our hardest."