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Nesta Rice and Tre Powell combine for 44 points in Medford Tech's statement win over Sterling

Updated: Jan 23, 2023

HADDONFIELD (N.J.) - Tre Powell's ability to develop a rhythm from beyond-the-arc doesn't excite him as much as it would the average high school basketball player.

He practices his three-point shooting on a daily basis, so he sees the act of making shots as a responsibility to fulfill.

"Nothing really (goes through my mind)," he said. "I work on them shots every day, so I just shoot it with confidence. That's it."

The Burlington County Institute of Technology junior scored 23 points and teammate Nesta Rice added 21 as the Jaguars cruised past Sterling, 74-58, in the Paul VI Winter Classic on Saturday morning.

Powell buried four triples as the Jaguars improved their record to 10-6.

Medford Tech has won three consecutive games since enduring a three-game losing skid that featured a stunning loss to Holy Cross Prep.

A quick start showed the Jaguars had different plans on Saturday.

"It was all about just not wanting to lose and that will to win," Rice said. "Nobody wants to lose, nobody wants to be a low seed. We had to switch our mindset and we just came out aggressive."

Powell buried a trio of 3-pointers and tallied 13 of his 23 points in the opening frame. Medford Tech opened the contest on a 19-8 spurt and led by as much as 15 on two separate occasions in the period. The Jaguars established a 27-12 advantage after eight minutes.

"I knew I just had to get my team into the game," Powell said. "I knew we had to get going and play hard, and once I get going everybody else gets going."

Sterling responded with an 8-0 run to open the second stanza which included a trio of assists by Caleb "C.J." Mundell. The 6-foot-4 forward's ability to lead teammates with passes in the open court helped the Silver Knights cut the deficit to seven points.

After the Jaguars established a 13-point lead on the first possession following intermission on a baseline drive by Rice, Sterling put together a 13-4 run to narrow the margin again.

Mundell capped the spurt with an assist to Walt Garrison to cut the deficit to 43-39 with 3:56 left in the third stanza.

Medford Tech's Aaron Lassiter responded with a pair of 3-pointers on assists by Powell, before Powell hit a buzzer beater while falling to the floor to put the Jaguars up by 10 points.

The Silver Knights were unable to taper the deficit in the fourth quarter.

"They're very tough," Rice said. "They gel well together, a lot of communication, they have great ball movement. We knew coming into this game we had to bring everything and we did."

Rice scored 10 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter. Lassiter added 14 with a quartet of 3-pointers made and forward Prince Okonkwo contributed 12. Okonkwo also delivered a few dunks to provide shifts of momentum for the Jaguars.

Mundell scored 15 of his team-high 19 points for Sterling in the second half. Julian Johnson chipped in 11 and Garrison added 10.

The Silver Knights entered the weekend as one of the top two teams in South Jersey Group 2 in terms of accumulated power points.

The Jaguars grabbed 36 power points with the victory and moved up to the No. 4 spot in the South Jersey Group 2 standings.

"This is great," Medford Tech coach Nick Powell said. "They got a lot of wins so this is going to give us a lot of power points. We're trying to move up to get a home (playoff) game."

The win also provided Powell's squad with needed confidence heading into a busy week that features matchups with rivals Westampton Tech and Pemberton.

"We shot the ball great today," Powell said. "Just play basketball the right way. We're a good team when we shoot the ball well. It was a great team effort. We're looking forward to next week."

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