By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
Coming into the 2012-13 high school basketball season, several teams in the 13th Region will have some pressure on their shoulders as far as expectations go.
After helping guide the North Laurel Jaguars to their first 13th Region title in the school’s history, the Jaguars’ Jake Allen, who’s rated the top player in the region by Times-Tribune Sports Editor Les Dixon, said his team knows what is expected of the Jaguars and he’s going to do all he can to get his job done.
“We know there’s more pressure on us because teams are going to go at us hard every night,” Allen said. “Coming in as the defending region champs, teams are going to want to get a win over you, but I think we have enough talent that we’re going to be able to compete with anybody in the region every time we are on the floor.
“I think the fact that teams will come at you a little it harder is probably going to help us in the long run,” he added. “The better teams play against you, I think it’s obvious that you are going to get better as a team because you have to do more in every area of the game.”
Last season, Allen averaged a double-double over the course of the season scoring at a rate of 14 points per game, while grabbing 10.9 rebounds. He said he wanted to set his goals for this season even higher when it comes to production and is willing to put in the work it takes to achieve those goals.
“I’d really like to get to about 20 points per game and 15 rebounds and I think I can do that,” Allen said. “I know that I’m going to have to work hard to do that, but I feel like if I do that I can do some of those things.”
Considering Allen wants to be the Jaguars’ leader on the floor, it’s only natural that he take the reigns off the court as well.
“When it comes to my goals off the court, I just want to be a good teammate and be the kind of person that my teammates look up to,” he added. “We have a lot of young guys playing up this season and I know there has to be leadership when it comes to getting those guys familiar with game and practice situations.”
North Laurel head coach Brad Sizemore said Allen is one of those players that every coach would like to have at his disposal both on and off the court.
“Its really good to have a kid like Jake on your team because he brings so much to the table from the standpoint of his size and skill set,” Sizemore said. “He obviously can score the ball in bunches in the post and he has the ability to step out and shoot the three, handle the ball and also block shots.
“He makes us go in a lot if different areas, so he’s a pretty valuable asset to our team,” he added.