Jalen Green and The Bee’s third-ranked San Joaquin Memorial Panthers basketball team took its high-powered offense on the road to face the County/Metro Athletic Conference-leading Edison Tigers and came away with an 88-81 victory Friday night.
Both teams struggled shooting from the perimeter early, leading to a game in which players were making concerted efforts to attack the rim, both in the half-court and in transition.
Green, a highly coveted college recruit, has built much of his reputation on his ability to slash to the basket, and against the Tigers it was no different.
Green broke away from the pack several times in the open court for acrobatic finishes at the rim, including a spectacular one-handed tomahawk slam in the second quarter. His aggressiveness allowed him to also make several trips to the free-throw line, where he capitalized.
Still, Edison led 42-41 at the half.
In the the second half, Green showed why he is a prize target of college coaches all across the country. Green poured in 33 of his career-high 49 points in the second half, including two step-back 3-pointers to give Memorial the momentum it needed to secure and keep the slim lead.
With under 5 minutes left, the Panthers held a four-point margin. That is when Green said he decided to attack. “I just lock in. I know I am the go-to guy on the team. The offense and defense ran through me,” Green said.
Green continued attacking the rim late in the final period, earning him several trips to the line, where he sank 3 of 4, putting the game out of reach.
“We want to be a defensive team and 81 points is too many points but we have a superstar in Jalen that bailed us out,” Memorial coach Brad Roznovsky said. “He’s the best player in the nation and he showed why tonight.”
Both teams are 2-1 in the CMAC. Memorial plays at Garces on Saturday while Edison next plays Sanger at home Jan. 16.