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Marcus Rojas, Freeney Shine In Raiders’ Victory

Jamestown’s Marcus Rojas scores two of his game-high 25 points during Tuesday’s Erie County Interscholastic Conference Division 1 basketball game against Clarence at McElrath Gymnasium. P-J photo by Valory S. Isaacson

On a night in which James Rojas was honored for his outstanding basketball career, it was his younger brother who stole the show.

Marcus Rojas poured in 25 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead the Jamestown High School boys basketball team to a 57-49 victory over Clarence in an Erie County Interscholastic Conference Division 1 game at McElrath Gymnasium on Tuesday night.

The win improved the Red Raiders’ record to 4-2 overall and 2-0 in the league.

The victory also demonstrated that Marcus Rojas isn’t the only player that has skills in the low post.

Shaheem Freeney chipped in with 14 points and seven rebounds, providing Coach Ben Drake with a potent 1-2 bunch in the paint.

James Rojas, right, is presented a ball commemorating his induction on to the Jamestown High School Wall of Fame at McElrath Gymnasium on Tuesday night. Joining him is JHS varsity boys basketball coach Ben Drake. Now a freshman at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College, Rojas finished his career as only the second player in Red Raider history to have 1,000 career points, 500 rebounds, 100 assists and 100 steals. P-J photo by Valory S. Isaacson

“I’m so proud of those guys and how hard they played and the fact you could tell the things we’ve been working on were executed in the game tonight,” Drake said. “They played really, really hard.”

Together, the tandem shot 17-of-28 from the floor — Rojas was 12-of-16 by himself — and the combination proved to be too much for the Red Devils to handle.

Jamestown led 28-19 at halftime and by as many as 14 points, 39-25, with a shade under four minutes remaining in the third quarter when Henry Malarkey — he of the nine assists — found Freeney for a layup. But the Red Raiders managed just four points in six minutes and Clarence, behind 12 points from River Reinhardt, closed to within 43-41 with just over two minutes gone in the fourth quarter.

But Jamestown didn’t wilt.

In fact, the Red Raiders put the game away.

Jamestown’s Shaheem Freeney lays in two of his 14 points. P-J photo by Valory S. Isaacson

First Rojas scored on a feed from Freeney, Freeney picked up a loose ball and converted a layup, and Rojas tallied again from the low block. And when Matt Hill converted one of two free throws following a Clarence technical foul, Jamestown’s lead had grown to 50-41 with 2:54 remaining in the game.

The Red Devils got no closer than five points the rest of the way.

Reinhardt finished with 18 points and Brandon Ferris added 11 for the Red Devils.

NOTES: James Rojas’ name was added to the gym’s Wall of Fame and he was honored in a pregame ceremony. Now a freshman at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College, Rojas finished his Jamestown career in 2017 as only the second player in Red Raider history to have 1,000 career points, 500 rebounds, 100 assists and 100 steals. He is also part of a Hutchinson CC team that is 12-1 so far this season and ranked sixth in the NJCAA Division I poll. … The Red Raiders return to action Friday when they travel to Orchard Park. … In the junior varsity game, Clarence breezed to a 61-37 victory. … Simeon Leeper led Jamestown with 14 points.

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