By SCOTT TYLER

H-P Sports Editor



The plan for Palestine basketball coach Tommy Allison at the beginning of the 2005-06 season was to ease sophomore Larry Jackson into playing varsity basketball.

But when Allison realized how special of a basketball player Jackson was, there was no more easing.



In his first year at the varsity level, Jackson averaged 17.7 points and 10.4 rebounds as a starter for Palestine and for his accomplishments, the Wildcat post player has been named the Dogwood Circle Newcomer of the Year.



“Larry was not only one of the best players in our district, but he was one of the best players in our area,” Allison said. “And to do that as a sophomore is quite an accomplishment.”

Allison knew he had a special player last year when Jackson dominated at the freshman level, but the Palestine coach did not want to throw Jackson into the varsity fire real quickly.

“The plan was to try to ease him on the court but we started to realize that we needed him on the floor because he made our team better,” Allison said. “He makes everyone else on the court a better player.”

Jackson, who was named the District 21-3A co-Newcomer of the Year, had double-doubles in 10 of Palestine’s 14 district games.

“Larry has such good touch around the basket and does a good job at getting offensive rebounds and getting easy points off of them,” Allison said. “As he got confidence this year he just got better and better.”

Jackson’s season highs in points and rebounds both came against Huntington in two different games.

The first time Jackson faced the Red Devils, he scored a season-high 34 points to go along with 10 rebounds. The next game against Huntington, Jackson scored 31 points and grabbed a season-high 20 rebounds. In that second game, he also showed his outside touch when he knocked down a trio of three pointers.

Jackson was not only an offensive threat, but also defended the basket on defense with his blocking abilities. Jackson had three games with over four blocks.

Jackson also was one of Palestine’s top free-throw shooters as he shot 78 percent from the line.

“It was important for Larry to hit his free throws because playing inside he got fouled so much,” Allison said. “It made the other teams pay for fouling him.”

Allison knows the sky is the limit for the Palestine sophomore.

“Larry is going to become a dominate player in the new district,” Allison said. “He is hard to defend and he is a going to be a great shot blocker.”

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Scott Tyler may be contacted via e-mail at styler@palestineherald.com

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