After spending what he termed a "life-changing" week in San Antonio for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl high school football all-star game, which was played last Saturday at the Alamodome and televised nationally by NBC, John Burroughs senior Ezekiel Elliott was just hoping not to look too rusty in his first basketball game back with the Bombers on Tuesday.
Elliott, a football star for the Bombers, who will play collegiately at Ohio State University next year, flew back to St. Louis on Sunday, and only had time for one practice with the team before Tuesday's key Metro League conference game against rival Principia.
Fortunately for the Bombers, Elliott was able to shake off any rust he might have had pretty quickly, thanks to a resounding fast break slam dunk early in the game, which helped JBS build an early lead that eventually became a 64-54 victory over the visiting Principia Panthers.
"It was good to be back with my team," Elliott said. "We have a lot of weapons, but the thing about us is we always guard. And it just makes it easier to win if we hold our opponent to a low number of points."
That's exactly what Burroughs did on Tuesday, as it held Principia below its usual scoring average, thanks in part, to allowing the Panthers just six points in the first quarter.
That fantastic start on the defensive end helped the Bombers build a quick double-digit lead over the Panthers, which Burroughs was able to maintain throughout the game for its 12th straight win overall and third straight victory in Metro League play this season.
The Bombers are 12-0 on the year, and as recently as Monday, was ranked No. 4 in the area among Small School boys basketball teams.
"We're excited to be undefeated, but we really try not to think too much about it," Elliott said. "It's just the mentality we have. We put defense first. We try to play unselfish, and we really try to help each other, especially on defense. I think we play great help defense."
The Bombers are usually pretty balanced on offense as well, and that remained the case on Tuesday, as Elliott and three other JBS players each reached double figures in scoring.
Elliott had a team-high 13 points, while fellow guards Trevor Bain, Jimmy Carney, and Foye Oluokun each added 11 points in the victory.
Junior Joe Colliatie had the game-high for Prin (7-5) with 21 points and nine assists.
JBS' next game is this Friday, when the Bombers will go on the road for another important Metro League game, against rival and defending conference champ MICDS.
The Rams are 6-7 on the year, but appear to have righted their ship with back-to-back league wins to start the new year over Lutheran South and Priory.
Tip off for Friday's JBS-MICDS showdown is set for 8 p.m., and will be Game 2 of a girls game/boys game Metro League doubleheader at the McDonnell Gymnasium, on a night when MICDS will be hosting its Pink Out celebration for breast cancer awareness.
Score by Quarters ........... 1 ... 2 ... 3 ... 4 -- Final Score
Principia ........................... 6 . 15 . 17 . 16 -- 54
John Burroughs ............. 18 . 17 . 14 . 15 -- 64
Principia -- Joe Colliatie 21, Sawyer Grow 12, Matt Gilman 10, Justin Ball 6, Luke DeNicholas 5.
John Burroughs -- Ezekiel Elliott 13, Trevor Bain 11, Jimmy Carney 11, Foye Oluokun 11, Nathan Van Slyke 9, Ronald Smith 5, Chris Wetzel 4.