The Jefferson boys varsity basketball team built a big lead in Thursday’s opener at the Sechrest Christmas Tournament at Park Hills. The team led 24-12 at halftime against Fredericktown, and then held on for a 58-52 victory. The win improves the team’s record to 5-3 and advances them to a quarterfinal matchup with #1 seed South Iron on Saturday.
A second quarter that saw the Blue Jays outscore the Blackcats 14-4, helped them to that 12 point advantage at the break. But Fredericktown heated up in the second half, scoring 20 points in the third quarter, and 22 in the fourth. Jefferson had to withstand the fury, but managed to do so.
“I think we came out and punched them in the mouth early like we wanted to,” Levi Ebersoldt said after having a week off from competition. “There were some rough spots here and there, but we played with so much effort and grit that we were able to overcome those little snags.”
Jefferson had three athletes in double figures led by Jon Weik‘s 19 points. He also grabbed a team high 11 rebounds. He said the break had its pros and cons. “I think it was a little bit of both,” he said. “It helped us rest up and get healthy, but also the break made us take three days off of needed practice.” That may have accounted for the team’s 29 percent shooting from beyond the arc, and the 11-of-20 free throw conversion. But Hadyn Wagner pumped in 16 points, four coming from three point land. He also dished off three assists. And Colby Ott finished with 12 points and four steals.
Others contributing included Daylen Whitener with 7 points, Will Schnitzler and Dawson Jakoubek with two points each, and Ebersoldt grabbing six rebounds and collecting nine assists.
Saturday’s game will be a challenge against South Iron. Tip off is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. A victory would earn the Jays a spot in the Monday’s semifinals.