JACKPOT – Last season, the Jackpot Jaguars earned the No. 4 seed of the Division 1A Northern-East – and they’re looking for another trip to the regional tournament in the 2017-2018 season.
The Jaguars finished with a 13-9 overall record, going 7-5 in league play.
Jackpot ran into buzz saw and eventual state champion Mineral County in the first round of the 1A North regional tournament, falling 82-40.
Head coach Carlos Perez likes what he has coming back to the floor this season.
The Jaguars return 1st-Team All-League selection Ricardo Miramontes for his senior season.
Miramontes led Jackpot in scoring at 15 points per game, adding 4.5 rebounds and 3.2 steals.
He eclipsed 20 points in six contests, notching a season-best 28 points on Jan. 27 against Independence – snagging nine rebounds in two contests and collecting six steals three times.
He splashed a team-high 30 3s for the season.
Jackpot does not simply bring back a 1st-Teamer, the Jaguars also have a 2nd-Teamer coming back with two more years of eligibility.
As a sophomore, Jerry Martinez served as the Robin to Miramontes’ Batman, finishing second on the team in scoring with 12.8 points per game and only trailing Miramontes’ 30 3s by one with 29 triples for the year – actually shooting at a better clip from distance at 37 percent.
His defense was crucial for the Jaguars, leading the squad with 3.4 steals per game – adding four rebounds per contest.
The Miramontes-Martinez duo will look to lead the Jaguars back to the postseason.
Another player was also recognized with an honorable mention last season; Eduardo Avila.
During his junior year, Avila provided another reason for Jaguars fans to be excited, demonstrating an all-around skill set.
He dished the ball better than anyone on the team – providing 4.6 assists per contest to his teammates.
Avila also collected more rebounds than nearly everyone on the Jackpot roster, coming down with six boards per contest – combined with averages of 7.1 points and three steals per game – the underclassmen-filled Jags could easily make another trip to the playoffs and be one of the best teams in the 1A Northern-East.
“We have a really good base to work with this year. I have a lot players who benefited from a year of varsity basketball last year. The maturity has really shown in our first two games this season,” Perez said. “We’ll be considerably undersized this season, but we will make that up with speed and physical play. Our returning guards (Avila, Miramontes and Martinez) can really get out and run the floor.”
Due to the Jaguars lack of size, Perez will rely on solid perimeter players’ willingness to step into different roles.
“Michael Salas, Abraham Martinez and Hugo Sanchez are good on the perimeter but will have to play a bigger role this year inside the paint,” Perez said. “We are looking forward to a good season and getting back to the regional tournament. We’re excited about the season.”
The Jaguars opened the season with a 58-45 victory Monday over Lighthouse Christian in Twin Falls, Idaho.
Jackpot was led by 19 points from Jerry Martinez, Miramontes (11 points) and Salas (10 points) also scoring in double figures.
Avila closed with seven points, Abraham Martinez finished with six points and Sanchez added five.
Jackpot extended to a 2-0 record Wednesday, narrowly edging North Gem by three points in a 54-51 ballgame in Bancroft, Idaho.
The game was tight throughout, knotted up 25-25 at the break.
The Jaguars outscored North Gem 15-14 in the third period and 14-12 in the final frame for the win.
Miramontes cashed in his first 20-point output of the season, followed by 15 points from Jerry Martinez.
Salas added nine points and Sanchez closed with six.
The Jaguars will host Twin Falls Christian Academy at 4:30 p.m. MST on Dec. 8 in Jackpot.