Willie Jackson powers No. 1 Garfield Heights boys basketball past No. 4 Bedford, 60-55 (photos, video)

BEDFORD, Ohio — Garfield Heights forward and Missouri commit Willie Jackson had 25 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Bulldogs' boys basketball team past Bedford, 60-55, on Tuesday.

Jackson had 17 of his 25 points in the first half for Garfield Heights (2-0), ranked No. 1 in the cleveland.com Top 25. The Bulldogs used a 12-1 run in the first quarter, highlighted by strong dunks from Jackson and Louisville commit Frankie Hughes to take control of the game against the No. 4 Bearcats (0-1).

"They gave us (Willie and Frankie) the nickname, 'Dynamic Duo,'" Jackson said. "That's how it is. We're the seniors. We've got to step up every game.

"We knew they were coming out, that we were their first game. I told the team, 'We're No. 1. Might as well stay.'"

Hughes had two of his team's five 3-pointers and 16 points.

Defensively, Garfield Heights held Bedford to only two field goals in the first quarter on its way to an 18-6 lead after the quarter.

"I thought we did an outstanding job in the first half with our energy, our effort," Garfield Heights coach Sonny Johnson said. "I thought our players played defensively as well, especially in this environment with a really good team, one of the best teams in our area. It's a heck of a win."

Garfield Heights ended the first half on a 14-2 run to turn a 23-19 lead into a 37-21 halftime lead.

Jackson had 11 points in the second quarter, including the final five of the half to cap his team's 14-2 run.

"He's a beast," Johnson said. "To me, he's a Mr. Basketball candidate just off of what he does. He's going to get you 14, 15 rebounds a game. He's going to get you over 20 points a game. I think he's just a nightmare to guard."

Bedford closed the gap in the second half to as few as four points in the fourth quarter.

"I knew if we played good man defense, they would kind of get antsy and try to force some stuff," Bedford coach Pete Priola said. "So we were preaching, 'Box out, don't give them any second or third opportunities.'"

Lamont Rhodes led the Bearcats with 14 points in their season opener, and Cam Brandon added 13.

Both teams play again on Friday as Garfield Heights hosts Lutheran East and Bedford hosts No. 13 St. Edward.

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