Pigeon Forge's Jain breaks out against Austin-East
Marcus Stanton didn’t know who Trevor Jain was.
The Austin-East boys basketball coach sure does now after Jain dropped 37 points to lead Pigeon Forge past the Roadrunners on Tuesday night.
“He is an absolute great player,” Stanton said. “I love the way the kid plays. ... His team played around him. That’s one of the things that (Tigers coach John Kucela) has done a great job. He’s gotten the team to realize how to play around a good player.”
Jain did it all for Pigeon Forge in the 78-69 win, from breaking the press to driving to posting up. Facing an Austin-East team that beat the Tigers by 33 the last time they met, Jain scored 32 in the first three quarters to give his team a cushion that was nearly 20 points in the fourth quarter.
Jake Kingery added 14, including three big free throws in the fourth.
“Trevor does a lot for us,” Kingery said. “He provides a whole bunch of the scoring. His offensive ability is incredible. His length, his jumping helps all around. Whenever we need him to score, he’s there for us.”
Jain showed that Tuesday, tossing in big bucket after big bucket. After playing mostly wing for the Tigers last year, Kucela, in his first season, is also utilizing him in the post. Jain’s long wingspan and athleticism allows him to both catch passes in the meat grinder of the paint and weave between defenders to lay the ball in.
“He’s the real deal for us,” Kucela said. “And he makes the others go. He’s got everything we need right there. He can play the post. He can play the guard. It’s hard to defend him because he’s so quick.”
He also has the strength to fight through defenders. Three times he got a basket and a foul on Tuesday. He finished 11 of 18 at the line.
“(Kucela) kind of stuck me down where my strengths are,” Jain said. “There’s no one that can really guard me that I’ve been across so far in high school around here.”
Jain said he was able to take advantage of a soft defense. Stanton said it was a “lack of defense” that made it easier for Jain to dominate. While the Tigers led wire-to-wire, the Roadrunners did make a late run. Andre Wilson had 17 of his 25 in the fourth quarter for Austin-East while Kalyn Andrade and Tyree Ballard had 10 points each.
It wasn’t enough against Jain and the Tigers.
“Last year we got smoked by them,” Jain said. “This year we came out, we knew we could win. We came out, we play our game, we executed. ... We played a great game. It feels great.”