Jacob Thuman was in his element last Friday at Dublin Jerome.

Jacob Thuman was in his element last Friday at Dublin Jerome.

The 6-foot senior shooting guard was the perfect zone-breaker for the Westerville North High School boys basketball team as he made four 3-pointers and scored 18 points in a 45-40 win.

Jerome came out in a 2-3 zone defense in an effort to collapse on 6-6 post player Ralph Hill, but with the Celtics occupied in the paint, Thuman was left open and made Jerome pay for the double- and triple-teams inside.

"Usually the coaches tell me just to keep shooting the ball when I'm not making it and I may be out of rhythm," said Thuman, who was 23-for-66 from 3-point range (34.8 percent) before North played Central last Tuesday. "But if I'm not taking the open jump shot I'm not helping my team. That's my role. I guess you could say that's my niche.

"Also, if I'm not hitting, I try to get it to other players who are open and I try to stay patient."

Through 11 games, Thuman averaged 8.9 points per game, up from 5.5 last year.

"I think the game has slowed down for him a bit and he's making better decisions offensively," said coach Kevin Thuman, who is also Jacob's father. "I think one of the biggest factors has been our guard play. He has been helped by Kenny (DeBoer), Brad (Nettles) and Ralph taking people off the dribble and then kicking the ball back out to him."

But with making perimeter shots comes added attention from opponents, making it more difficult to shoot with a defender in his face.

"One thing I try to do whether I'm open or I have a hand in my face is to concentrate on the rim," Jacob said. "If (the defender) is too close to you, you have to look to pass, but if you're already shooting it, shoot it as if you're open and keep your eye on the rim."

"Jake's been doing a better job of shooting under pressure and, when he gets that pressure, he's not afraid to take it to the basket," coach Thuman said. "He's been pretty selective on when he shoots it.

"I also think Jake's been more patient. He had success shooting the ball over the summer and that continued well into the preseason. I think part of his confidence comes from him being a senior and the fact that he's been there before and he knows that we need him to be a shooter."

Jacob also has been accurate from the foul line, making 83.3 percent of his attempts. He made all for of his free throws last Friday against Jerome.

"I'd like to think that I'm a better passer and ball-handler than many people think," he said. "I'm more of a shooter, but I'd like to think I can pass and drive to the basket. I can also rebound and stick my nose in and play defense."

Jacob is leading the team with 27 deflections, but one thing he's not about to deflect is the fact he is the coach's son.

He's happy to play under those circumstances, but does think he had to work harder to prove himself.

"There's not much bad about it, really, once you get the respect of your teammates," he said.

"You really do have to prove that nothing has been given to you. But once you have that respect, there are not a lot of drawbacks."

Jacob also plays baseball for the Warriors and will likely be the team's shortstop this spring. Last Saturday, he went to a baseball clinic at Bowling Green to prepare for the season and perhaps catch the eye of a college coach.

"I'd probably say that baseball is my favorite sport and I'm probably a little better at it," he said. "I love both of them, but I find baseball a little more relaxing with my skill set. I have to work a lot harder to be good at basketball."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the North boys and girls basketball teams:

BOYS

*Last Friday -- Defeated Dublin Jerome 45-40. Jacob Thuman led with 18 points and four 3-pointers. Ralph Hill supplied 10 points and five blocked shots. Brad Nettles had eight points and Kiley Gessner added seven.

*Last Tuesday -- Played Westerville Central

*Friday -- At Dublin Scioto. The Warriors lost 52-29 on Dec. 19. The Irish were 12-1 overall and 8-0 in the league before playing Westerville South last Tuesday.

Saturday -- Home vs. Canton McKinley. The Bulldogs were 8-3 after defeating Massillon Washington 57-49 last Saturday.

*Tuesday -- Home vs. Olentangy Liberty. North lost 68-59 on Dec. 23. The Patriots were 6-6 overall and 3-5 in the league before playing Jerome last Tuesday.

*Feb. 6 -- At South. The Warriors lost 46-42 on Jan. 6. The Wildcats were 10-3 overall and 7-1 in the league before playing Scioto last Tuesday.

Of note: The Warriors were 7-4 overall and 5-3 in the OCC-Cardinal before last Tuesday.

GIRLS

*Last Friday -- Lost to Jerome 56-43. Kate Denney scored 15 points and Megan Lutz added 14.

Last Saturday -- Lost to Philo 55-50. Monique Jones had 17 points with four 3-pointers. Lutz added 13 points.

*Last Wednesday -- Played Central

*Friday -- Home vs. Scioto. The Warriors lost 57-37 on Dec. 19. The Irish were 14-1 overall and 9-0 in the league before playing South last Tuesday.

Saturday -- At Whetstone. North lost 80-65 on Dec. 20. The Braves were 4-8 overall before playing Brookhaven last Tuesday.

*Tuesday -- At Liberty. The Warriors won 63-52 on Dec. 23. The Patriots were 6-7 overall and 5-4 in the league before playing Jerome last Tuesday.

*Feb. 6 -- Home vs. South. North lost 49-47 on Jan. 7. The Wildcats were 9-4 overall and 7-2 in the league before playing Scioto last Tuesday.

Of note: The Warriors were 4-9 overall and 3-6 in the OCC-Cardinal before last Wednesday.

*OCC-Cardinal game