The Jefferson girls varsity basketball team put up a valiant effort at home Thursday night against the St. Pius Lancers. Playing without leading scorer Laney Smith, the Blue Jays kept things close before falling, 43-34. JHS is now 11-12 on the season.
“With Laney being out tonight, we had some girls really step up,” head coach Jason Dreyer mentioned. “I’m very proud of our team and the effort we played with tonight. If we play like that over the last week of the regular season and into districts, we will be very competitive with whoever we play.”
Smith rolled an ankle on Wednesday and is probably out for a week or so according to Dreyer. In the meantime, facing the now 18-3 Lancers, Jefferson jumped out to an early 7-6 lead after one quarter. Sydney Stewart scored five of the team’s seven points to help them take that lead after the first eight minutes. St. Pius picked it up a bit in the second quarter and overtook Jefferson, going to the locker room at halftime with an 18-14 advantage.
“What really hurt us was our turnovers,” Coach Dreyer explained. “With Laney being out, we had some girls in different positions that they weren’t used to playing, and it showed early with our turnovers. After halftime, we settled down and took care of the ball a lot better.”
The problem with that was the Lancers are a very difficult team to come back on once they have a lead. St. Pius extended the lead to 30-21 after the third quarter, and then both teams scored 13 points in the final quarter to make the final margin of victory nine points at the end.
Stewart led the team in scoring with 11 points. Abi Chipps also hit double figures with ten points. Others that figured in the scoring were Catryn Cattoor with seven points, and Emma Earls, Brittany Bittick, and Morgan Fuller with two points each.
The Blue Jays will begin the final week of regular season games on Monday when they travel to Crystal City to take on the Hornets. Game time is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. for the varsity. At the end of the week, the girls will begin district play at Herky.