Arcadia High School's gifted and high-scoring 6-foot-6 senior wing Connor Nichols has had a terrific senior season for himself and his high school program - pouring in numerous scoring outbursts this season. On Tuesday evening, in a rivalry match-up with Paradise Valley HS, the Trojans would overcome a big game-high 35 points by Nichols to win the contest on the road and improve their terrific record this season to 18-2.
Paradise Valley HS quality head coach Mark Macgowan is known for game preparation, and early in the game Paradise Valley would build a quick and large advantage - leading Arcadia, 26-16 with 4 minutes left in the first half, behind 7 points from 6-foot-3 senior forward Cedric Jacobsjones (pictured). Jacobsjones is one of the premier post playuers in the state. While undersized, his physical strength and athleticism, combined with a nice left handed touch make him a very productive player.
Arcadia would come back in the game though, just before the half. After a put-back by Nichols after a missed free-throw by a teammate, Nichols would then collect two offensive rebounds on his own missed shots, and then convert a three-point play after being fouled in intense fashion. Nichols' three-point play would pull Arcadia to within 2 points of PV - 26-24.
Shortly after the Nichol's performance, 6-foot-4 senior forward Avonte Nelms would throw down a one-handed dunk on the break, just before the half, but PV would hold on to a 31 to 26 lead over Arcadia heading into halftime.
Arcadia would get right back to it in the third period, after a short rest. Connor Nichols would immediately knock down a three-pointer from the wing, and then Nelms would convert a field goal of his own - giving Arcadia a narrow lead 33-31 after just two minutes had expired in the third period. Nichols would heat up in the third period, but Cedric Jacobsjones would do just enough to keep his team in contention with Arcadia in the second half.
PV would hold on to a 44-42 lead heading into the fourth period, and then Jacobsjones would take over down the stretch for his team - scoring a transition basket and then converting another nice post move around a defender with less than 2 minutes to play in the game. Jones's two baskets would give the Trojans a 56-52 lead, before some calm free-throw shooting by the Trojans would seal the victory for Paradise Valley - 60-55.
Cedric Jacobsjones would finish with a team-high 17 points in the win, while 6-foot-4 junior forward CJ Vanbeekum would contribute 12 points.
To go along with Nichol's game-high 35 points for Arcadia, Nelms would also finish with 14 points.
Notes: Paradise Valley is on an impressive run this season and has it rollin' - winners of their last 14 games in a row. Their last loss came in the beginning of December, in 2014. When you put it like that it sounds like a long time ago, and it has been. This group could potentially run the table for the remainder of the season and not lose another game - heading into the state playoffs at season's end with a potential 20-game win streak.
In Arizona high school basketball, the importance of a tall post player can be diminished by the size and strength of a player like Cedric Jacobsjones, who is much more difficult to defend and keep off the glass. Jacobsjones is a handful of a player and athlete and will give opposing team's post players major problems throughout the remainder of the season - a nice advantage for the Trojans.