Italy — Italy’s JV Gladiators went old school in the old Italy gym and handed the Clifton Cubs an old-fashion blow-out loss. Reminiscent of Gladiator teams of old, the JV Gladiators conquered Clifton from both the air and inside the paint.
Getting two first quarter three-pointers from Caden Jacinto and another from Darol Mayberry, Italy’s shoot until you miss strategy was proving overwhelming for the Cubs. Point guard Eric Carson scored added 6-points in the opening frame along with 4-points from T.J. Cockran to help give the JV Gladiators a 1-point lead going into the second period, 19-18.
Bubba Itson dominated the scoring in the second quarter with three buckets for a total of 6-points. T.J. Cockran put in four more points and was matched by teammate Raheem Walker. Jacinto dropped in two free-throws and Carson added a jumper as Italy’s offense outscored Clifton 18-11 to take an 8-point lead into halftime, 37-29.
With Italy’s athletic defense holding Clifton to just 5-points, Jacinto knocked down his third three-pointer in the third quarter, as well as a 2-point basket and one free-throw. Carson scored another and Itson beat the halftime buzzer with a layup to distance the JV Gladiators from the Cubs, 47-34.
Carson and Itson both drained three-pointers in the final stanza and Jacinto celebrated his fourth three-pointer of the game along with two free-throws. Jacinto completed his scoring night going 5-of-6 from the charity stripe, overall, and 17-points total.
Kevin Roldan scored with a bank shot from the right block, Trevon Robertson got on the scoreboard in the fourth and T.J. Cockran added a pair of free-throws to finish with 6-points as the Italy JV Gladiators and their head coach, Larry Mayberry, Sr., get the job done against Clifton, 64-43.
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JV Gladiators take 3rd Place in Rice Tournament:
Italy’s JV Gladiators lost 51-24 against Kerens in round one of the Rice Tournament but return the favor to Avalon in the second round with 54-24 win.
Competing in a four team bracket, the win over Avalon gives Italy’s JV 3rd Place in the tournament.
Before the game, the Gladiators’ first year head coach Aidan Callahan mentioned, “In our first 15 games, we have faced 7 ranked opponents. Hopefully, by playing such tough competition before district, we’ll be that much better off down the road.”
Although the Clifton Cubs do not fit the profile of a ranked team, Callahan was still a tad nervous before the game, explaining, “After evaluating our performances over the past several weeks, and getting to know the players better, I decided to make some adjustments. I’m just hoping we have success implementing those changes tonight.”
Three separate Gladiators scored 4-points in the opening quarter including Jasenio Anderson, who recorded a field goal and aced two free-throws, Jase Holden and post Larry Mayberry, Jr. Fellow center Devonta Simmons and playmaker De’Andre Sephus got in on the action as well and scored one basket each to help Italy build an early 16-8 advantage.
Holden added two more in the second along 4-points each from Heath Clemons and Anderson. However, it was sophomore center Cole Hopkins that lead the scoring effort for Italy in the period with 6-points. The Gladiators lead 32-19 going into halftime and Callahan seemed much more relaxed heading into the locker room.
After rehashing over their mission at halftime, the Gladiators exploded in the third and went on a bit of a scoring spree. Six separate Gladiators would eventually score points in the quarter.
Mayberry and Clemons supplied two field goals, Ryan Ashcraft added a basket and went 1-of-2 from the line, Holden scored six, Anderson put in seven and Colton Campbell scored 8-points as the Gladiators outscore the Cubs by 28-points in the third and take a 60-26 lead.
With the staggering lead, Coach Callahan slows down the pace in the final quarter. Holden, Hopkins and Simmons each put in a 2-point basket in the fourth while Sephus scored 3-points. It is a 9-point quarter for Italy to Cifton’s eleven but the scoring output is more than enough for the Gladiators who win 69-37 at home in the dome.