FORT WAYNE — Early on in Saturday night’s tournament game against Spiece, North Central freshman Eron Gordon was finding it surprisingly easy to score on Spiece’s Jaquan Lyle, the No. 17 player in the Class of 2014.
But then Gordon made the mistake of letting Lyle know about it.
“I came out kind of stiff,” said Lyle, who was going into his fourth game of the day at the Bill Hensley Run N-Slam All-Star Classic. “Really didn’t want to play, body hurt. He was scoring a lot of points, then he got to talking, said I couldn’t guard him and stuff. I had to let him know he’s a freshman and I did what I had to do.”
And that meant scoring 44 points in a double-digit victory that sent Speice to Sunday morning’s quarterfinals. Gordon scored 31 points, but his Eric Gordon All-Stars squad was eliminated.
Lyle and his Spiece squad were playing without Trey Lyles and James Blackmon Jr., both of whom have suffered significant knee injuries in the last 16 months. Spiece had already played four games in the previous 25 hours, so they were tired and for good reason.
Lyle started attacking Gordon, though, and the adrenaline took him through.
“He was talking all day and stuff, I couldn’t let him forget he’s a freshman,” Lyle said. “… Once he got to talking I just blacked out and my team kept getting me the ball, and I was scoring time after time after time.”