MANHEIM – Improved rebounding by the JB Hoops Callejas 15U team got the JB Hoops contingent off to a winning start in the Hoop Group Spring Jam Fest early Friday evening at Spooky Nook Sports.
Zachary Rovinsky scored a game-high 19 points and joined Philip Byriel and Kieran Burrier in finishing in double figures in rebounds as JB Hoops Callejas downed the 6th Man Warriors from Bowie, Md., 54-42, in an opening round game.
Coach Tim Callejas said the team put extra emphasis on rebounding after a rough outing on the boards against a bigger opponent last weekend in Baltimore.
“We put an emphasis on boxing out in practice this week,” Callejas said after his team improved to 5-2 on the season. “We really worked hard on it this week and tonight it showed.”
Rovinsky hit nine of his last 12 shots and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Byriel had 12 rebounds to lead JB Hoops to a 48-35 advantage on the boards. Burrier grabbed 10 from his guard position.
JB Hoops overcame a three-point halftime deficit with a quick start to the second half and did not trail in the game’s last 13 ½ minutes.
There were five lead changes and four ties in the tightly contested first half that ended with the Warriors up, 26-23.
The biggest lead of the half was the Warriors at 10-4, but JB Hoops immediately responded with eight straight points, the first four by Byriel to start the exchanges of the lead.
JB Hoops was out and running on the first two possessions of the second half. Transition baskets by Rovinsky and Burrier created a 27-26 lead.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Caleb Callejas put JB Hoops ahead to stay and Janaasah Boone followed by taking a steal the length of the floor for an eight-point streak to a 34-27 lead.
Connor Kelley and Boone also connected as JB Hoops went 4-for-5 on 3s in the first 6:15 of the second half for a 41-33 advantage.
Back-to-back baskets by Rovinsky midway through the second half created the first double-digits lead and JB Hoops handled pressure by 6th Man to secure the win and advance to Saturday morning’s 11:50 second-round game against Ohio Basketball.
Rovinsky, Western Wayne’s leading scorer in his recently completed freshman season with the Wildcats, joined Byriel, MMI Prep’s 6-foot-7 center, in helping JB Hoops control the paint.
“We realized they couldn’t stop us in there so we just kept pounding it in there,” Rovinsky said.
They maintained similar control on the other end.
“I thought we boxed out really well,” Rovinsky said.
Burrier and Callejas finished with eight points and three assists each. Boone had seven points and three assists. Byriel had six points, making three straight shots late in the first half.
Nicholas Tomassoni had a team-high four assists and was one of three players with two steals.