The Appoquinimink boys basketball team left it all on the court Tuesday night in a fast-paced, electrifying 59-54 victory over host Newark. The victory helped spoil the Yellowjackets home opener of the 2012-13 season and first game in Newark's newly renovated gymnasium.
"We came out with a lot of intensity, and it showed on the court," said Jaguar coach Steve Landry.
We had a great practice yesterday, and I think we are starting to come together as a team, and I know we left it on the floor tonight," he said.
Jaguar senior Mike Gordon led all scorers with 28 points in the contest, hitting a barrage of three-pointers, including four in the pivotal second period.
It appeared the Yellowjackets had things well in hand after outscoring Appoquinimink 15-6 in the first quarter. Newark's Shikei Blake, a 6'6" senior, got his team rolling with several quick baskets. Fellow seniors Xavier Purnell and Jamar McGriff also helped out on offense.
But the game turned around quickly in the second period, when Appo's defense turned up the heat on Newark and Gordon and company found their offensive mojo. Gordon nailed a three-pointer, about midway through the period came after a time out, to give the Jaguars their first lead in the seesaw contest. And the battle was on! The Jags would outscore Newark 22-6 in the stanza to take a 28-21 lead into halftime.
The third period had a different look as both teams ramped up the offense. Newark, behind Blake and Marquis Clarke, outscored Appoquinimink, but trailed by the slim margin of 40-38.
Action was fast and furious in the fourth period, with the lead changing several times. But the Jaguars were 12-17 from the charity stripe, which enabled them to hold onto the lead down the stretch.
"We were able to get in a few practices over the holiday break, and I think the team is beginning to buy into our new system. Again ,they worked hard tonight, and I'm proud of their effort," said Landry.
In addition to Landry's 28 points, Chris Gibson added 15 points and Evan Ward had 7 points. Shikei Blake totaled 20 points for Newark, Marquis Clarke chipped in with 11 and Darius Wing had 9 points.
The Yellowjackets fall to 6-3 with the loss, and will play at Glasgow Thursday night, Jan. 10 at 5:15 p.m.
The Jaguars improved to 3-7 and will play Concord on Friday, Jan. 18 at 5:45 p.m.