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Ithaca sets new season-high in wins with 22, advances to Regional Finals WITH PHOTO GALLERY

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Monday night’s Class C regional nightcap promised to be a closely-contested game between two multi-sport rivals, pitting Millington against the host Ithaca Yellow Jackets.

Sometimes promises are broken though.

Ithaca, while surrendering 41 points to Millington’s Shawn Pardee, still managed to pull off a convincing 79-60 win over the Cardinals. This win was the 22nd of the season for Jim Thompson’s Jackets, a new single-season school record.

It was no single-handed effort on the part of Ithaca either, with four final stat lines that is tough to choose the best of.

Leading the way in points was Jake Smith, who tossed in 22 to go with his five rebounds.

Spence DeMull scored 20, but snagged seven boards.

If those don’t provide enough options for player of the game, here are two more: Levi Lehman had 14 points with 12 rebounds, along with seven assists and five steals. Nick Radak also scored 10 points and had seven boards.

Needless to say, after the game, coach Thompson was pleased with his team’s effort.

“I know I’ve been saying it a lot lately, but this week and last, our team has bought in. Tonight, we finally played inside to out. We utilized our post game. That opened up our three game and look at our point output. It is a direct reflection of that.”

For Thompson, the proof was in the pudding.

“Last Friday, in our district title game, Spence DeMull made zero shots,” he said. “Tonight, he comes out and hangs up 20. We got him open looks by using our post players, and look what happened. We shared the ball, and it worked out that we shared the victory.

“I need to credit Jake Smith and Spence DeMull for their defensive play tonight as well,” Thompson pointed out. “They were given the task of defending the best three-point shooter possibly in the state, and even though we gave up 41 to him, I think they made life tough for him.”

The shooter referenced is Millington’s Pardee. Not only did he hang up 41 on Ithaca, but in the process, he broke Millington’s single-season point record of 641.

“I admit, we discussed the Jordan rule at halftime about him,” Thompson said.

For those who are unfamiliar with the rule, it was created to help to defend Chicago Bulls great Michael Jordan, and entailed allowing the best player his points while shutting down his teammates.

The rule definitely applied Monday. Pardee scored 41 while the rest of the team chipped in 17.

“I have to tell you, a few years ago, I watched Brad Redford play on this very gym floor. That, right there? That’s Brad Redford good. Truthfully, I wish I could have seen them both in the same season to draw a better comparison, but that young man is a star.”

Thompson added that he feels Pardee has a good chance to succeed at the next level.

“If people aren’t looking at him because he’s 5-foot-10, they’re missing out,” he said. “Jake Smith is one of the best athletes to ever walk these halls. Between him and Spence DeMull, we have one of the best backcourts I’ve coached.”

“We give up 43 points-per-game, on average,” said Thompson. “One kid just put up 41 on us. I’ll shake his hand every day, and twice on Sunday. I wish him nothing but the best, and whoever lands him at the next level is getting a player.”

As Pardee and the Cardinals loaded the bus, Thompson was ready to turn his sights to Reese.

“Physically, they match up well with us,” he said. “They’re scrappers. Our main focus, though, needs to be on us, and on our offense. That’s what we’re looking at.”

In the opening game of the night, Reese pulled off a stunning victory against Unionville-Sebewaing, a team that had beaten the Rockets earlier in the year by tallies of 60-56 and most recently, 62-36.

The Rockets sit at 17-8, thanks to winning their three district games by a combined 11 points. One of those victories came against Michigan Lutheran Seminary, a team that was one bucket away from beating Ithaca earlier in the year.

Ithaca will look to continue re-writing the record books as it takes on the Rockets Wednesday night at 7 p.m., once again at Ithaca High School.

Last Updated: 3/15/2016 12:11:46 AM EST