INWOOD – Richard Lewis claims he was never worried about Jefferson’s game at the Friday night season opener.
Not even when the Cougars were double-digit in the first half and much of the deficit in the second half.
His Cougars satisfied his confidence during the Musselman Mixer by fighting back from a 14 point deficit in the first half en route to a 74-71 win over Hurricane.
“When we were 11 I wasn’t worried,” said Lewis.
However, he said: “I think we can play better.”
Especially after a lethargic and carefree first half.
Jefferson got a boost of energy in the second half with much of the attack generated by freshman Jamari Jenkins, who scored eight points in the third quarter and assisted with two other baskets when the Cougars closed in at 49-47 at the end of the period.
“He did what I expected in the second half,” said Lewis.
Then Cameron Johnson hit a 3-pointer two minutes into the fourth quarter to give Jefferson his first lead at 53:51.
The teams went back and forth for the next three minutes until another 3-pointer from Jaiden Gladney fell through the next at 2:52 to give the Cougars a 64-62 lead that Jefferson wouldn’t give up.
A free throw from Jenkins gave Jefferson his biggest lead at 71-64, 1:28 ahead of the rest, but Hurricane stayed tough and pulled to 73-71 when Brayden Whittington scored a 3-pointer with half a second remaining. Wyatt Shively’s free throw brought the final lead into play.
“I think our pace caught them a little,” said Lewis. âHurricane is pretty good; They have a good presence, 6-7 and 6-11. “
Jenkins finished with 18 points and was one of four players in the double digits. Johnson scored 16, Daion Taylor 13 and Gladney 10.
Nas’Jain Jones’ 26 points for Hurricane topped all scorers. Dillon Tinger threw 15 points and Whittingon 13.
Fighting for efficiency, Jefferson was a bit loose with basketball in the first half, making nine ball losses.
“We didn’t shoot the ball very well,” said Lewis. âI expect we will get better.
No rally was more damaging than a lost ball in the final seconds of the first half, which Whittington turned into a successful half-field shot that extended Hurricane’s lead to 37:26.
A minute earlier, Jefferson had risen to 29-26 after two consecutive 3-pointers from Gladney and Jenkins.
While Lewis said, “We’re an experienced group,” he said his team was still working on creating the chemistry.
In the second game of the night, Musselman scored nine points in a row in the fourth quarter to break away from Millbrook, Virginia and win 59-45.
The applemen led 44-40 as they made their run.
Gordon Shaffer scored 18 points, Jordan Holmes 15 and Calvin Kleppner 10 for the Applemen who face Hurricane today.
BJ Canada’s 11 points were on the pace of the Pioneers who will face Jefferson today.