Not all teams are led by their top scorer, and the Fossil Ridge boys basketball squad may be one of them.
Bryce Jackson, a senior who has been a starter for the Panthers since his sophomore year, is pleased to lead the team in whatever capacity may be needed at the moment.
Currently, he happens to be the leading rebounder and likely one that other players look to on the court when the going gets tough for the Panthers.
The team is in the middle of the hunt for a playoff spot in District4-5A.
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Although Jackson can be a scorer when needed, he’s more apt to lead not only in rebounding, but in assists, too. “I take a lot of pride in my rebounding,” Jackson said. One of his goals is to lead the district in double-doubles.
His scoring ability is much improved, as Jackson said he has spent substantial time since the conclusion of his sophomore year working on his shooting form and a quicker release.
The proof is in the percentage.
“My three-point percentage has improved and the time to get a shot off has improved,” Jackson said.
As a forward, he spent more time in the weight room, too, helping him when he spends time in the paint.
But the other aspect of his game involves additional time working to improve his ball-handling. That ability is allowing him to play as a guard, as well.
“I want to focus on my ball-handling,” Jackson said. “To get to the next level I’ll need to do that to be a true guard.”
Jackson’s work to get to the next level is paying off, as he signed in October to play at the University of New Orleans next year. Having already signed a college letter of intent has helped take some of the pressure off his senior year, allowing him to focus more on the task at hand.
“Coach (Zack) Myers helps keep me focused,” Jackson said. “I think it was good for me to have it taken care of before the season. Now I can just focus on being a better player.
“I’m more of playmaker,” Jackson said in response to characterizing his style of play. “I’ll do whatever the team needs me to do. If I need to score or rebound or play defense, I can do that. I don’t have to be scoring every game,” he said.
Myers said the attention Jackson has garnered from colleges and his teammates is well-earned.
“He deserves the attention from his leadership quality and the kind of kid he is,” Myers said. “He takes care of business on and off the floor. He comes to work every day and has a great attitude.”
Jackson’s business now is helping the Panthers get to the playoffs.
“We’re improving steadily,” Jackson said as Ridge had now fully incorporated three players from the playoff football team. “We’re getting back into the flow of things and it was good to have a break in the middle of district games,” he said.
Fossil Ridge competed well at the Fort Worth ISD holiday tournament, going 2-2, but the total margin in the two losses was just six points. Since the tournament, the Panthers have picked up three district wins and are in the thick of the district race. “We wanted to get the sour taste of the tournament out of our mouth,” Jackson said.
The tournament wasn’t all sour for Jackson. He was named to the All-Tournament Team.
Myers said he is versatile, even at 6-6. “He can score from anywhere and he’s a great defender,” Myers said.
Now, it’s back to securing a playoff spot.
“We felt like we should’ve been in the playoffs last year,” Jackson said. “But we didn’t play well until it was too late. We missed it in my sophomore year, too. We only made it my freshman year. I feel like we have the talent to turn it into making the playoffs this year,” Jackson said.