JAFFREY — It was Jacson Cross’s night on Friday in Conant’s 64-17 win over Wilton-Lyndeborough in Jaffery. This was the second of a home-and-away series to kick off the season. Conant won the first game 70-33 Tuesday in Wilton.
The junior scored 18 points in his new role as the big man on the court.
“I was feeling pretty good,” Cross said. “I’m not really used to getting in the paint a lot, this is my first year really doing it, and I felt good in the paint. I’ve been working on it in practice so hopefully I can keep doing that.”
“I thought Jacson played really well and aggressive,” said Conant head coach Eric Saucier. “He’s played the guard spot for us the last couple years, and he’s grown now, he’s about 6’2, 6’3, so we’ve moved him into the post position and try to get him to complement us in the post and he did a good job of that tonight.”
Conant raced out to a 17-2 lead in the first quarter and never looked back.
Senior Colson Seppala and junior Garret Somero each scored 12 points in the Orioles’ win over the Division 4 opponent.
“I thought everybody played well,” Saucier said. “The biggest thing was the defensive togetherness tonight. The other night, a couple guys weren’t getting help and stuff. If we’re going to be great, we have to be able to defend a little better and be one unit.”
That Conant defense held Wilton-Lyndeborough to only six points in the first half and 11 in the second.
“Based on our first game, we had some things to work on — our defense especially,” Cross said. “Today we did better protecting the paint, stopping them from driving, so we did better on the defensive end.
“We just needed to improve on some things and that’s what we did,” Cross added.
Because of the adjusted regional schedule, Conant, a Division 2 team, will be playing a handful of games against teams in lower divisions, but that doesn’t change the team’s mindset going into each game.
“My expectations don’t change, no matter what team I have,” Saucier said. “A lot of people have asked what has changed this year; the only thing that’s changed are the masks, that’s it. We’re still going to press, we’re still going to run, we’re still going to play Conant basketball.”
The masks are a big change this season, but it’s clear that it’s just something the athletes and coaches deal with, no questions asked.
“We don’t talk about it,” Saucier said. “I don’t want to hear it. If you don’t want to wear a mask, then you don’t play. I’m just happy, and these guys are excited to just play and have the opportunity.”
“I have no problem with the masks,” Cross said. “If it’s going to help us keep a season, then I’m all for it because I don’t want to lose a season so we might as well wear the masks. Same with my teammates, they just want to play basketball.”
Up next for Conant is Hinsdale Tuesday in Jaffrey at 5:30 p.m.