Check out my Jefferson High School men’s basketball article published in the Daily Union!
JEFFERSON – In a back and forth game of runs, the Jefferson boys’ basketball team fell short of a win in a matchup against Brodhead, losing 59-52 Friday.
Both squads were 6-3 in Rock Valley conference play going into the game.
”It was the team that made the last run that was going to get this one,” Jefferson head coach Jay Benish said. “We made our run in the third going into the fourth and then they made the final one and that was the story.”
The Eagles (7-8 overall, 6-4 RVC North) went into the fourth with an 11-point lead that was met with an aggressive Brodhead offense. Outscoring the Eagles 24 to 6, the Cards (9-5 overall, 7-3 RVC South) were able to get Jefferson into early foul trouble. The Eagles gave Brodhead nine easy points, putting them at the line 12 times in the fourth.
”They turned up the pressure a bit and we gave them some easy transition baskets,” Benish said.
The Eagles were crashing the boards hard both offensively and defensively to regain the lead, but could not seem to capitalize.
”Our kids were getting to the rim but we’d miss one, we’d rebound it, and we’d miss that,” Benish said. “Good teams are going finish those off, we’re still working to get ourselves to that point where we’re one of those teams that can do that.”
Jefferson dominated the boards in the third quarter, over half of their points coming from rebound put-ups after missed shots. Jefferson senior Jalen McGraw had much to do with the aggressiveness on the boards according to Benish.
”Jalen’s a kid on the boards that has given us a spark early in the last couple games,” Benish said. “He’s been getting a lot of good put-backs and rebounds and he was rebounding well tonight.”
McGraw finished the game with six points. Jefferson 6-foot-1 point guard Clayton Morrison was the game’s leading scorer with 16 points.
Max McGowan added 10.
With three Eagles picking up their fourth fouls with minutes to go, Jefferson couldn’t answer the Cards’ hot streak.
”We knew it was going to be a dog fight,” Brodhead head coach Brian Kammerer said. “They’re a very talented and athletic team.”
Having lost five of their last six games, Benish said the team really needed this win to get back on track.
”I’m just hoping we can learn a lesson from this game,” Benish said. “Our goal every year is ultimately to be the best team we can be by tournament time. We have seven or eight games left right now before the tournament to get ourselves to that point.”
The Eagles will look to find their stride again in their next matchup against Beloit Turner on Feb. 2. Tipoff is at 7:15 p.m. in Beloit.