SALT LAKE CITY — When two of the state's top scorers step onto the same court, you can expect fireworks.
That's exactly what happened when Skyline guard Jaden Jackson and Murray forward David Collette led their teams into a Region 2 matchup Wednesday night.
Jackson, who is at the top of the state scoring leader boards with 27 points per game, won the scoring battle between him and Collette, outscoring the Spartan by a narrow two points, 34-32.
However, it was the 6-foot-8 forward, who currently ranks sixth in the state and fourth in 5A with 22.5 points per game, who won the war as Collette's team ended the evening with a convincing 67-51 victory.
"We did a good job at the very beginning to give us a cushion, and then (Skyline) made runs," Murray coach Jason Workman said of jumping out to a 10-point lead midway through the first quarter and then working to maintain that distance the rest of the game. "They can score a lot of points. With Jaden out there, there's never a comfortable lead."
Jackson and DeSean Miller sparked the Eagles' scoring to pull within three points, 17-14, by the end of the first, but it was the closest Skyline would get. Collette, who, along with Jackson, scored 15 of his total points during the first half, filled the second period with highlights, including going on his own 10-2 run to extend the Spartan lead to 11 points by intermission.
"David did really well," Workman said, adding, "He's learned to play (against undersized opponents) and to continue to fight for his position, and he's a pretty versatile kid. He can step out, get a catch, dribble and create other shots."
On this night, though, most of Collette's scoring came off moves in the paint and dunks as he made excellent use of his great size advantage.
"Defensively he's our anchor, and offensively he's, obviously, option No. 1," Workman said. "Everybody has to guard him. We see how they defend him and that's what everybody else gets."
As for defending a player with a similar role on an opposing team, Workman said his team didn't change much.
"I wish we said we had some super complicated or extravagant plan (to slow Jackson) but you know, I'm very pleased with our man-to-man defense. I think it's our strength," Workman said. "Our key was, 'If he gets his, I'm OK as long as they're tough shots. Limit the easy ones and we're going to play him straight up.'"2 comments on this story
The two team leaders traded shots multiple times throughout the final 16 minutes and Jackson added his own plays to the game's highlight reel. All four of his 3-pointers were from long range and over a defender, and most of his other 22 points came off difficult shots as well.
"The first half I thought he got four easy looks and the second half (he got) two," Workman said of the Spartans' defense of Jackson. "Six shots is still a lot, but when a guy takes as many shots as he does, we can live with that."
Workman added, "If he's shooting that many difficult shots and he's still scoring all those points, that's credit to a great player."
Joe Cosby added 15 points to the Murray effort and Miller finished with nine for Skyline.