The big men got most of the headlines for Massillon Jackson following its 62-50 win over Gahanna Lincoln in a Division I semifinal last Friday in Ohio State's Schottenstein Center.

The big men got most of the headlines for Massillon Jackson following its 62-50 win over Gahanna Lincoln in a Division I semifinal last Friday in Ohio State's Schottenstein Center.

And for good reason.

Josh Egner, the 6-foot-7 University of Akron signee, was outstanding for the eventual state champions. He finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks against the Lions, including 11 points during a third quarter run that proved to the be the game's deciding stretch. Egner's all-Ohio teammate Mark Henniger added 11 points and nine rebounds.

But in the final analysis, Gahanna coach Tony Staib gave much of the credit to the rest of Jackson's lineup for causing problems it didn't face against Dublin Coffman, Westerville North or even Northland.

The Jackson guards, he said, were what distinguished them from other teams with strong frontcourts Gahanna had seen this postseason.

"We're a team that has to earn everything," Staib said. "We have to run our offense and we have to space the floor. Their size and strength at all five positions was what really hurt us."

Jackson's starting backcourt of Brad DuPont, C.J. Julian and Michael Shull combined for 16 rebounds and six steals. The trio made it tough for the Lions to find open space on the offensive end.

"We've faced teams this year that were big and strong," Staib said. "But not at all five positions. They are able to get up and guard you and defend you."

After beating the Lions last Friday, Jackson (25-3) rolled over Moeller the following night 57-34 for the program's first title. Gahanna's season came to an end with a record of 26-1.

The key stretch for Gahanna came following halftime, after the Lions had trimmed an early nine-point deficit to 26-24 after two quarters.

"Coming into halftime we felt like this was our game," Rob Brandenberg said.

Anthony Jackson scored 10 of his team-high 23 points in the second quarter. Gahanna even grabbed leads of 20-18 and 22-21 midway through the second quarter.

"The third quarter is usually our best quarter," Brandenberg said. "That's where we separate from our opponents."

Instead Jackson opened the third with an 11-0 run. Egner scored 7 points and Gahanna didn't score a second-half point until the 3:50 mark of the quarter. The Lions pulled to within eight on two occasions but never could recover.

"We would work to get into striking distance and they would answer," Staib said. "That was huge."

Gahanna was held to its worst shooting night of the season against Jackson. The Lions shot 31.6 percent from the floor (18-57) and missed 11 free throws. Their 50-point output was the lowest of the season.

Anthony Jackson was 8-for-16 from the floor. Gahanna's other four starters were 8-for-29 and the Lions got only five points from their bench.

"We just didn't shoot the ball as well as we have," Brandenberg said. "Tonight just wasn't our night. It's as simple as that."