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Boys basketball notes: Bowman's Jacques Williams starts 2020 with highlight-reel dunk
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Boys basketball | Notes

Boys basketball notes: Bowman's Jacques Williams starts 2020 with highlight-reel dunk

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Jacques Williams -- Bowman

Bowman senior Jacques Williams scored 24 points in the Eagles' win on Wednesday, and none were more memorable than his thunderous dunk in the third quarter.

HAMMOND — On New Year’s Day, Bowman senior Jacques Williams may have already provided the play of the year.

Midway through the third quarter of the Eagles’ matchup with Milwaukee Hamilton, the 6-foot-4 guard dunked all over Wildcats senior forward Keywaun Pettis, who stands 6-6.

“He blocked my shot on the first one, so I was just like, ‘DIAMOND, DIAMOND!’ That’s our out-of-bounds play where (my teammate) comes up to set the screen, and then I go up for the alley oop,” Williams said. “I went up for it, bounced off of him and just dunked it.”

Almost everyone who was in attendance at the Mac Jelks Invitational on Wednesday, which was held at Bishop Noll, lost their minds when Bowman senior guard Jessie Walker threw a perfect lob pass to Williams from underneath their team’s basket. Madness ensued as the senior pulled off a vicious one-handed slam on Pettis, causing the defender to fall down.

Williams stood over Pettis for a brief moment, flexed and shouted before backpedaling on defense, and his teammates on the court and bench erupted in celebration over what they had just witnessed.

The senior finished the night with 24 points in the Eagles’ 71-60 victory, and his thunderous jam has already gone viral on social media with thousands of views after a video of the dunk was re-posted by ESPN, Ballislife and theScore.

“It’s a new year, so you gotta start it off right,” Williams said. “I’ll remember that one.”

Bowman coach Tyrone Robinson is usually the first person to tell his team to get back on defense after a made basket, but even he got caught up in the moment following Williams’ highlight-reel play.

“I’ve been coaching high school basketball for a long time,” Robinson said. “I haven’t seen a dunk like that before.”

Valpo's Mack seizing long-awaited opportunity

All Brandon Mack ever wanted was a chance.

Playing behind a pair of next-level talents last year in Brandon Newman (Purdue) and Nate Aerts (Bethel), the Valparaiso senior toiled in relative obscurity.

Now, he has emerged as a pure scorer for the Vikings and leads them in scoring at 11.4 points per game.

“Brandon has always been one of our better shooters,” Valparaiso coach Barak Coolman said. “Last year he was stuck behind (Newman and Aerts) and was the ninth guy. Coming into this year, I expected him to play a key role for us. When he shoots it, we expect it to go in.”

Valparaiso at EC Central boys basketball (notes)

Valparaiso senior Brandon Mack, far left, is averaging a team-high 11.4 points per game.

Mack's true breakout moment came last week when he buried a late 3-pointer to help lift Valparaiso to a 55-52 win over Connersville. His 3-pointer came with 51 seconds left and gave the Vikings their first lead of the game. The senior guard connected on all five of his shots, including four 3-pointers, for a career-high 20 points.

“I knew as soon as I got the ball that I was going to shoot it,” Mack said. “I had the confidence. I got a lot of experience during AAU this summer, and I took a ton of shots during games. I know I can hit those shots.”

Hobart wins holiday tourney

Tyler Schultz plays baseball, football and basketball at Hobart, and the senior showed once again that he is one of the school’s top athletes by willing the Brickies to a holiday tournament title on their home floor.

After dominating North Newton with a 62-22 win in the first round, Hobart squeezed past Lake Station 37-34 in the championship last weekend to cap off the calendar year with some hardware. Schultz played all 32 minutes against the Eagles and poured in a team-high 14 points and team-high three assists.

Hobart boys basketball team

The Hobart boys basketball team reacts after winning its holiday tournament last Saturday.

“When you’re playing for a championship, I guess you naturally get that second wind,” Schultz said. “You just go all out, and you don’t really feel how you’re feeling. After we won, I wasn’t cheering very hard just because at the end of the game, I finally realized how tired I was.”

Schultz missed most of his junior season with mononucleosis, and Brickies coach Michael Brown said he is thankful to have the do-it-all guard return to his starting lineup.

 “We’re asking him to score, we’re asking him to bring the ball up, we’re asking him to guard the other team’s point guard,” Brown said. “I’m lucky that he plays basketball and that I get to coach him. He’s just a steady ball player.”

Hammond’s Woods steps up

Hammond won both of its games in the North Central holiday tournament, and Harold Woods was a big reason why.

The junior guard had a team-high 24 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals in the Wildcats’ 63-61 victory over the host Panthers, and he followed it up with 15 points, six rebounds, one assist and one steal in his team’s 55-52 win against Park Tudor last weekend. In the two contests, Woods shot 51.7% from the field and drained a team-high four 3-pointers.

Munster at Hammond boys basketball (bbk notes)

Hammond's Harold Woods, right, helped the Wildcats go undefeated in the North Central holiday tournament.

Hammond coach Larry Moore Jr. expects Woods to be an integral part of his squad’s success as it prepares for the second half of the season.

“He’s a matchup problem because he’s a 6-4 two-guard, so you can’t put a big guy on him, and the guards are usually smaller,” Moore said. “He’s been using his size to his advantage to get to the basket and knock down the 3.”

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Lake County Sports Reporter

James Boyd is the Lake County prep sports reporter for The Times. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a proud native of Romeoville, Illinois. Before anything else, his main goal in life is to spread love and light.

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