Grove City’s 6-foot-7 senior Jon Smith is soft-spoken, but his game
Saturday at the Ohio Expo Center Coliseum was anything but soft. The
Saint Louis University recruit recorded a triple-double to lead the
Greyhounds to thier first Division I Central District title since 1999 with an 81-52 win over of Dublin Coffman.
Grove City’s 6-foot-7 senior Jon Smith is soft-spoken, but his game Saturday at the Ohio Expo Center Coliseum was anything but soft. The Saint Louis University recruit recorded a triple-double to lead the Greyhounds (22-2) to a Division I Central District title with an 81-52 win over of Dublin Coffman (20-4). The 81 points scored by Grove City was 15 more than the Shamrocks had given up in any one game all year.
Smith ran the floor, blocked shots, dunked, passed out of double and triple teams, and rebounded his way to 26 points, 20 rebounds, 10 blocks and five assists. The well spoken senior and his Greyhound teammates earned their first district championship in 10 years and fourth overall. The victory earned them a spot in the regional semifinals against the No. 1 team in the Associated Press Poll, Columbus Northland (23-1). Tip off is set for 7 p.m. on Thursday night at the Coliseum.
However, don’t tell Smith about his triple-double.
“The triple-double was just me doing my part,” the personable and intelligent Smith explained. “I just wanted to come out and get the team energized, but this was a total team effort. This is not about me, but about our team getting the job done. I was just a part of that today.”
Though, Smith may be more modest than most, his performance was anything but small. The senior overcame constant double and triple teams all day, while Coffman was playing its 1-3-1 zone defense. The lengthy Smith, being unselfish as always, knew it was essential to get his teammates involved to loosen up the defense.
“That is a big part of my game,” Smith stated. “I love to get my teammates involved and that is the way it has to be for our team to be successful. We have a lot of other guys besides me, so I do whatever I can to get them the ball where they can score. They did a great job today of shooting the basketball and opening things up for me.”
“Big Jon” runs the floor as well or better than any big man in the state. Several times he didn’t even give the Shamrocks time to set up the defense by racing down the floor for an easy basket or putting back a miss in emphatic fashion.
Smith’s final statement came on a post entry pass from one of his trustworthy guards that was lobbed up in the air with Smith catching and finishing with a two-handed dunk while drawing a foul. Point proven! Jon Smith is the real deal.
Smith, who is not well known to the common fan outside of the Columbus area, possesses unbelievable hands and has a great feel for the game. The attributes are endless, but for Smith and his teammates it’s about having fun together.
“It is just so much fun playing a fast-paced game with dunks, threes, and great passes,” the well-mannered Smith said. “We are just really excited right now and having so much fun playing together. We just need to keep it up and stay focused on our goals.”
The next goal for the Greyhounds will be to find a way to knock off the highly touted Vikings. Northland was a 59-56 winner over an upset-minded Westerville North outfit.
Smith is looking forward to the match up with the Vikings and in particular Northland junior and Ohio State recruit Jared Sullinger. The 6-foot-9 Sullinger and Smith will likely be going head-to-head.
“Yes sir, I’m looking forward to the challenge at hand,” Smith said. “Jared is a great player and they have a very good team, but my teammates and I are just looking forward to the opportunity. Jared and I have played against each other many times, but this will be with more at stake.”
The teammates that Smith mentions at every chance and certainly loves playing beside are no slouches either.
6-foot-4 senior Ryan Cosgray, who was a second team all-district performer, scored 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds while the Greyhounds out rebounded the Shamrocks 57-36. Senior Aaron Murfin and junior Heath Jones each scored 12 points. Senior Cody Funk was also an important cog in the fast-paced play of the Greyhounds.