GHS suffers two big losses in one night

Isaiah Jackson, of Gainesville High School, is wheeled out of the gym on a stretcher after possibly breaking or fracturing his right leg in the first quarter of a game against Buchholz High School at Buchholz, in Gainesville, Jan. 13, 2012. The Bobcats won 52-50 on a game winning shot by senior Rex Warner.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer
Published: Friday, January 13, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 12:10 a.m.

With a packed house at Bud Seymour Gymnasium on Friday for another Gainesville-Buchholz classic, they witnessed an early shocker and a late one as well.

Bobcat senior Rex Warner hit a 15-foot jumper as time expired, lifting Buchholz to a stunning 52-50 win over Class 6A No. 4 Gainesville. The shot set off a jubilant celebration among Bobcat fans, but the game result paled in comparison to what happened early in the game.

Hurricane sophomore Isaiah Jackson, one of the team's leading scorers, severely hurt his right leg after being fouled by Kendrick Smith with 3:32 left in the first period. Preliminary reports are that Jackson broke his leg after a collision with Smith as the GHS forward went for a dunk after a steal.

For about 25 minutes, Jackson laid on the gym floor in agony, as Hurricanes coach Kelly Beckham rushed to his side and trainers tried to keep him still until paramedics arrived.

What once appeared as a team that had a legitimate shot for a deep run in the state playoffs, perhaps even a state title, has lost a key member for the season.

“My apologies and heartfelt sympathies go out to Isaiah,” said Buchholz coach Bob Horodyski. “Kendrick didn't make a good read. I thought he would go high, and he went low. I feel awful for the kid. To see Isaiah's season end like this, I feel awful. He is a great player, one of the best in the area.

“I was really proud of our seniors taking control of the game at the end. Mitchell (Wise) hit a big 3-pointer there, and Rex hit the game-winner. Chad played great in the final period. We ran a good play there, and they defended it well. Rex just got a good arch on his shot and it went in.”

Despite the loss of Jackson, the ‘Canes (13-5) led most of the game and built a 12-point lead, 38-26, after a 3-pointer from Michael Henderson, an inside basket by Ed Porter and two free throws from Derrick Walker midway in the third period. But Warner, who didn't score any points in the first half, hit a 3-pointer just as the period ended, closing the gap to five, 40-35, heading into the fourth.

Porter, who finished with a game-high 17 points, scored all 10 of GHS's points in the fourth. Down 48-42, the Bobcats got a three-point play by Warner, a steal and layup by Chad Milliken and a huge 3-pointer by Mitchell Wise to take a 50-48 lead with 28 seconds left.

Two free throws by Porter, who made all six tries in the period, tied it at 50 with 19 seconds to go, and after both teams turned the ball over, the Bobcats (10-8) had the ball with 6 seconds and called timeout. Although the play was initially supposed to kick the ball to Milliken, the team's best shooter, Warner couldn't get him the ball, so he turned toward the basket and shot from 15 feet. The ball rattled the rim a bit and fell in as time expired.

“It worked out well for us,” said Warner, who finished with 12 points. ”It felt good when I shot it and hit the rim about nine times, but it definitely felt good. Obviously it's a shame Isaiah went down early. He's a game-changer. You got to put the play behind you. It was our last one (against GHS), and one we will always remember.”

“This was a big win for us,” said Milliken, who had 15 points. “We just never gave up and kept playing.”

Dedric Ross tossed in 14 points for Buchholz while Wise had 10.

Beckham said the loss of Jackson was a huge setback for his team.

“I don't know the official prognosis, but it appears to be a broken leg,” Beckham said. “Obviously it had an affect on us. We were able to build a little bit of a lead there, but just couldn't maintain it. We just didn't execute coming down the stretch.

“I'm still really proud of the guys. They faced a lot of adversity tonight, losing a teammate like that. It is difficult for all of us. The guys … they will fight. They will work extremely hard. We have face a lot of adversity the last year together. Hopefully it is going to make us stronger.”

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