Photo Courtesy of Jerrianne Wallace
The Jefferson boys varsity basketball team started off the 2019-20 season on Tuesday with a game against the St. Louis Patriots. Yesterday’s contest was a quarterfinal matchup in the Rolla “Duke” Herbert Basketball Tournament at Crystal City High School. The Blue Jays jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, coming away with a 75-48 victory.
“We started off well,” said head coach Sean Breeze. “Our goal was to use our defensive pressure to turn into offensive baskets, and that’s exactly what happened in the first quarter, and really set the tone for the rest of the game.”
It did work almost to perfection as the Blue Jays had several layups off steals in the game. The first quarter saw Colby Ott score eight points, and Jon Weik tally seven points in helping Jefferson to a 22-6 lead after the first eight minutes. “We wanted to come out firing and get up on them early,” Ott commented after the game. “Our goal was to let our defense turn into our offense, and that’s exactly what we did.” Sound familiar?
Jefferson held a 37-19 lead at halftime. Weik really set himself apart in that first half, netting 16 points. He would score in every quarter, leading the Blue Jays with 25 points on the night. “It felt great to get out on the floor again,” Weik stated. “Our offense wasn’t clicking early, but our aggressive defense turned into offense. It was a great effort by the guys by putting it on them early.”
If you haven’t noticed that the Jays took Coach Breeze’s message to heart, look at those players’ comments again. It all began with the defense, and the offense took care of itself. “It didn’t matter who we had on the floor,” Breeze said. “Each kid did a great job tonight running their lanes in transition, and we were able to pick up lots of lay-up opportunities.”
After Weik’s 25, Hadyn Wagner pumped in 13 points, three coming on three point shots. He scored ten points in the second half and said the team played well. “As a team, we looked really good,” he said. “We shared the ball very well, and got out and ran against the Patriots.”
Ott finished the night with ten points, while Will Schnitzler added eight. Masen Wilson netted six points, and Nolan Roth chipped in with four. Rounding out the scoring, the Jays got three points from Ethan Boyer, and two points each from Dawson Jakoubek, Levi Ebersoldt, and Daylen Whitener.
The win moves Jefferson into a semifinal game tonight against Scott City, winners over Herky last night. The game time has been moved to 5:oo p.m. this evening.
“Our ability to play defense is going to have to play a huge part in any success we may have this season,” Coach Breeze re-emphasized. “I was really pleased with the effort by each member of the team tonight.”
By all indications, the message was received loud and clear.