Uplift’s Markese Jacobs says he is learning when to pick his spots to take over games. That’s a process that every elite high school player, especially one that has to do so much for his team, eventually learns.
But sometimes it is best to just listen to your mother.
The Titans were trailing visiting Lincoln Park by ten points in the fourth quarter on Wednesday. A voice from the crowd reached out to the DePaul recruit.
“My mind was spinning,” Jacobs said. “But my mom was telling me to get the ball and win it for my team.”
That’s exactly what he did. Jacobs totally dominated the fourth quarter and overtime to lead No. 23 Uplift to a 70-66 win against the Lions.
“Markese is an elite level athlete and high school kids have a hard time dealing with that,” Titans coach David Taylor said.”
Jacobs had just seven points and one rebound after three quarters. He came alive in the middle of the fourth quarter, draining three consecutive three-pointers, all under heavy defensive pressure.
“Those were just huge three-pointers,” Taylor said. “Shots with guys hanging on him, shots where he is leaning. He’s used to doing it in practice but I was cringing on those and then they went in and I went ‘Yes.’”
Jacobs finished with 28 points and eight rebounds. He grabbed nearly every crucial rebound down the stretch and assisted senior Detalian Brown on a key three-pointer.
“We are chasing down eight in the fourth quarter and it is time to go with your best,” Taylor said. “He’ll make the decisions and if guys are open he will find them. If he has the better shot, or he thinks he does, he will take it.”
The special moment came in overtime. Jacobs stole the ball at the top of the key and dunked it on the other end to give Uplift (3-1, 1-0 Red-North/West) a three-point lead with 49 seconds to play.
“I love playing those passing lanes,” Jacobs said. “I sag and as soon as I see the ball I react, I go. I was thinking about laying it up, but big time players make big time plays. I live to play games like this.”
DeAndre Vortes scored 17 and was a major factor in overtime. Tavion Underwood added 10 points and Brown scored seven for the Titans.
“Late fourth quarter and overtime Vortez was locked in and made some very big plays for us,” Taylor said. “When Vortes is locked in he’s good, he’s struggling with the consistency.”
Tahir Thompson led Lincoln Park (3-3, 0-1) with 14 points and nine rebounds. Joe Makov added 10 points and 12 boards and Julio Montes had 16 points and seven rebounds.
Jacobs’ late game heroics are fun to watch, but it isn’t a sustainable way forward for Uplift this season.
“I plan on going to practice and letting my team know how much I need them,” Jacobs said. “I can’t do everything on my own. We all have to be one.”
The Titans lost to Evanston, one of the area’s most talented teams, in the Chicago Elite Classic over the weekend, but showed a great deal of fight in the second half.
“Tonight was a big step forward with mental toughness,” Taylor said. “We showed a sign of it against Evanston in the third quarter and then drifted backwards and faded in the fourth quarter. Not today. We got down in the fourth and they refused to disband. I was proud of that. The mental toughness is coming.”
Live final minute of overtime, Lincoln Park at Uplift https://t.co/39Jl5mnHMu
— Michael O'Brien (@michaelsobrien) December 6, 2018