Boys basketball: Jason Jakstys, Yorkville slam Oswego East

Illinois recruit goes for 16 points and 12 rebounds, Foxes ride 41-point first half to 72-50 win

Yorkville's Jason Jakstys (32) dunks the ball in front of Oswego East defender Mason Lockett, IV during a varsity basketball game at Yorkville High School on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024.

YORKVILLE – Jason Jakstys and Yorkville would love to put this kind of performance in a bottle and release it in two weeks.

The IHSA released pairings for the boys basketball playoffs on Friday. Yorkville, a team closing in on 20 wins with an Illinois recruit in Jakstys, was given a No. 8 seed in the loaded East Aurora Sectional. In other sectionals, it’s conceivable that a team with the Foxes’ talent and resumè would get a top four seed.

Yorkville will be on its home floor for regionals, which could make the Foxes particularly dangerous. Especially if they can harness an effort like Friday’s.

All five starters scored in the first quarter, and Yorkville blitzed Oswego East with a 41-point first half. The Foxes led by as many as 29 points and went on to a resounding 72-50 win over the Southwest Prairie West co-leader Wolves on Senior Night in Yorkville.

Jakstys led four Foxes (18-10, 10-5) in double figures with 16 points, and also grabbed 12 rebounds with two blocks. Kaevian Johnson added 13 points, Dayvion Johnson 12 and Bryce Salek 12 points and five rebounds.

“I think it was our energy. We had energy we’ve never really had before,” said Jakstys, who shot 6 for 8 with two of Yorkville’s four dunks and also blocked two shots. “I think the crowd really helped us. It’s been the most packed it’s ever been in a long time. We came out hitting shots and executing.”

Dayvion Johnson hit all four of his 3-point attempts in the first half. The first gave Yorkville the lead for good at 10-7 and the second was part of a 9-0 run that first opened up a double-digit lead at 21-9 in a first quarter that saw the Foxes shoot a blistering 69%.

He hit two more in the second quarter, the second as time expired to give Yorkville a stunning 41-18 lead at halftime.

“It felt amazing, like a movie to me,” Johnson said. “I had a lot of family out here. That motivated me that they came and supported me, a lot of fans, senior night. I just wanted to go out there have fun and play my game.”

Yorkville's Kaevian Johnson (10) takes a hit to the head from Oswego East defender Andrew Pohlman (21) during a varsity basketball game at Yorkville High School on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024.

Eight different players scored in the first half for the Foxes, who seemed a step quicker to the ball than Oswego East at every turn. Yorkville crisply moved the ball, attacked the rim and played with great energy.

It continued right on after halftime, when Salek assisted a Jakstys dunk and threw down two of his own dunks in the first four minutes.

“We said at halftime that’s probably the best first half we’ve played all season, maybe for two years,” Yorkville coach John Holakovsky said.

But not altogether surprising to see it come out. Yorkville is 9-2 over its last 11 games, with wins over Metea Valley and Oswego East this week – both seeded higher in the sectional.

“We’ve been in a little bit of a groove here,” Holakovsky said. “Minooka and St. Francis were losses which maybe hurt our seeding. We just competed our butt off – moving the ball, doing great things on defense, making the extra plays. Some of our drives to the basket were unbelievable.”

On the flip side, Oswego East suffered its worst loss in five years.

The Wolves (19-10, 11-4) struggled to contain anything Yorkville wanted to do offensively, and on the other end couldn’t make shots. Oswego East shot just 1 for 10 from 3-point range in the first half.

Wyoming recruit Jehvion Starwood, who sat a large chunk of the first half with two fouls, scored 11 of his team-high 15 points in the second half. Andrew Wiggins added 11 for the Wolves.

“Credit to Yorkville, getting us out of what we were trying to do,” Oswego East coach Ryan Velasquez said. “It was not the defensive effort we needed. The wheels fell off the bus early and we couldn’t climb our way back. They could do whatever they wanted. That is not the product I like to put out there on the floor.”

Yorkville's Bryce Salek (30) hangs on the rim after a slam dunk after he recovered his own three-point miss against Oswego East, during a varsity basketball game at Yorkville High School on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024.

By virtue of West Aurora’s loss to Plainfield North, though, Oswego East can still clinch a share of its sixth straight conference title by beating Oswego Tuesday.

“Move on to the next one, but learn from it,” Velasquez said. “It was humbling.”

Yorkville, meanwhile, wraps up its season at Plainfield North, then will be back on its home court the following Wednesday for a regional semifinal with West Aurora, a team it split two games with this season. A win there, and it’s a likely regional final with No. 1 seed Bolingbrook.

A tough path, to be certain, but the Foxes like the way their arrow is pointing.

“Our confidence is through the roof right now,” Jakstys said. “Hopefully this win shows people in the community how much fun it can be to watch a game. I think this win, we’re going to have a lot more fans and energy.”