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Apple Valley's Tyus Jones guards Lakeville North's J.P. Macura (33). Photo by Jon Laqua
A game that was supposed to be Apple Valley's biggest in-conference test turned into the Tyus Jones show.
Entering the Tuesday night affair with matching 6-0 South Suburban Conference records, No. 1-ranked Apple Valley rode a monstrous game from Tyus Jones (41 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals) en route to a 102-74 victory at Apple Valley High School.
Equipped with a pair of Duke socks, Jones -- who has committed to play for the Blue Devils -- turned in his most impressive shooting performance of the year. The 6-foot-2 senior shot 16-for-21 from the floor and 4-for-5 from 3-point land, leading a furious second half rally to secure the easy win over No. 3 Lakeville North.
Lakeville North (11-3) shot the ball well in the first half but couldn't overcome the offensive output from Apple Valley (14-1). Jones sparked an extended second-half run to give Apple Valley the separation it needed. Gary Trent, whose son Gary Trent Jr. scored 6 points in the onslaught, may have been the only spectator who wasn't too impressed.
"You know, I’ve seen him play since he was an eighth-grader, so he can do nothing to surprise me." Trent, a former Minnesota Timberwolf who played in the NBA from 1995-2004, said about Jones. "I just want to see him continue to close out his legacy strong, and that’s what he’s doing."
When asked about his offensive display, Jones pointed to his teammates and their play at the other end of the floor.
"First and foremost, our win started with defense." Jones said. "I’m proud of the way our guys battled and really put an effort into sitting down and forcing them into tough shots. We really wanted to hold them to one shot and not let them get any easy putbacks, so I’m proud of how we played at that end."
Trent Jr., who is widely regarded as the most talented freshman in the state, agreed with his senior leader. They knew they had to stop Lakeville North star and Xavier-commit J.P. Macura. They held him to 13 points, 17 below his season average.
"Oh man, we pulled it out because of defense." Trent Jr. said. "J.P. Macura, being the great player that he is, we played great defense on him."
The win keeps the Eagles undefeated against Minnesota opponents and 7-0 in conference, with their only loss coming to Chicago powerhouse Whitney Young.