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Yellow Jackets remain #1 after defeating the Burning

Jackets triumph in first game of home and home series


Last updated 11/29/2022 at 11:25am

The Burning River Buckets came to play in the first quarter of the home v. away showdown with the #1 ranked Steel City Yellow Jackets.

The #10-ranked team from Cleveland jumped to a 12-0 lead at Mentor High School before Ace Pippens’ club could find the basket. With 8:41 to go in the first quarter, the Yellow Jackets called a timeout, facing the biggest deficit they’ve had all season.

It would be a few more minutes before Amaru Caldwell would score, to make it a 12-2 game. The Buckets were playing a more aggressive defense against the Yellow Jackets and they did a good job scoring early on. But James Jackson scored to start a run that would find the Yellow Jackets back in the contest.

Caldwell would hit a three-point play to make it 18-7 before Kenny Holmes came into the game. He scored and then Tim Jackson made it 18-11. Artis Cleveland started to rebound in the paint and Holmes hit a jumper to make it 18-13.

Both teams had difficult times scoring from the free throw line early, as James Jackson would miss a couple.

Tone Reddic made his debut of the 2022-2023 campaign and he struggled, as expected, from behind the three-point line.

The Buckets started to play sloppy before Brandon Johnson made it 18-15 with a jumper. The Yellow Jackets were on a 15-6 run at this point.

Holmes hit a 3D Three-pointer–four points–to take a 19-18 Yellow Jackets lead.

Tim Jackson hit a three-pointer to make it 22-18, and Kenny Holmes answered a Bucket bucket with a three to make the score 25-20. With a 25-8 run, the Yellow Jackets lead at the end of the first quarter, 25-20.

When the second quarter began, the Buckets closed the gap before Kenny Holmes added a three-pointer to make it 28-23.

Both teams traded jumpers in the second quarter, with Holmes scoring frequently, but the Burning River Buckets took a 39-38 lead with 6:42 to go in the second. But just as quickly, the Yellow Jackets regained the lead when Kenny Holmes was fouled and hit two free throws to make it 40-39.

The Buckets had a difficult time at the free throw line and that helped the Yellow Jackets remain in the lead. Reddic hit a three pointer to make it 43-39. Reddic and Holmes added to the tally. James Jackson extended the lead to 49-41. Holmes and Reddic added a couple of three-point plays to make it 55-44 and the largest lead up to that point in the game.

Late in the second quarter, Tim Jackson seemed to be injured and hustled to the locker room. He would return in the second half.

VaShawn Howard, who started the game at guard, would come in and hit two shots and Brandon Johnson hit a four-point shot (3D three pointer) to make it 63-48 at the half.

After halftime, the Burning River Buckets came out with their collective pedal to the metal and they trimmed the lead to 63-55 before Caldwell accounted for the next three points. Tim Jackson then hit a three pointer to make it 70-58.

Reddic and Holmes played hard, with Reddic taking physical fouls inside the paint. Holmes took a three-point shot, a rebound was sent back out to him and he hit the second one to make the game 74-61. Moments later, after Reddic would be clubbed to the floor, Holmes collected another three-pointer to make it 77-61.

The Burning River Buckets were not through. They took advantage of some Yellow Jacket mistakes and came within seven points of the lead. But Tim Jackson and Kenny Holmes answered and it was quickly 84-70 again. At the end of three quarters, the Yellow Jackets were up by 11, 84-73.

The final quarter began and there was some beef between Tone Reddic and the officials. Reddic played his usual, intense game, but he found himself on the floor a lot in his time on the court. Reddic was called for a technical foul and Cleveland connected on three free throws to trim the lead to 86-76.

The Yellow Jackets committed some fouls and soon, the Buckets were down by only 10 at 90-80 and then 92-82.

Holmes charged at the key, and Artis Cleveland was charged with a foul. Holmes’ three-point shot landed, but did not count. Reddic’s next shot did and the lead was extended to 96-82.

Later, Reddic would be fouled again and he would make both free throws. At this juncture, the Yellow Jackets were up 103-85. Moments later, Holmes would hit a 3D 3-pointer and the lead would extend to 20 points one more time, 107-87.

Howard, Johnson and Tim Jackson would score and it was 114-95. James Jackson would add another three-pointer.

With about 2:00 to go in the game, Assistant Coach Mike Mott entered the game. Under ABA rules, coaches can enter the game and with a short Steel City bench, his legs were useful as this game was coming to an end. It’s interesting to note that while Mott did not get to put up a shot, he was called for fouling one of the Buckets.

With lax defense by the Yellow Jackets, the Burning River Buckets would score some last-minute points.

The Yellow Jackets would remain undefeated at 4-0 with a 121-111 win over the 4-1 Burning River Buckets.

Kenny Holmes kept his incredible 2022 campaign going with 42 points. Tim Jackson had 18, and the returning Tone Reddic added 17. James Jackson scored 15, and Brandon Johnson 14. Amaru Caldwell posted 9 and VaShawn Howard 6.

Gabe Kinard led the Burning River Buckets with 39 points. Dylan Contento and Martel Medley each added 18. Five members of their club scored in double digits.

[Arianna Rosemond also contributed to this report.]


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