Short-handed with just nine players in uniform, Jefferson persevered in a 59-37 spanking of Fife on Monday at its holiday tournament.
Missing starting senior guard Xavier Scott-Hollis and his 10 points a game, the Raiders struggled to get the offense going early, scoring just 10 points in the first quarter.
Jefferson awoke in the final three quarters to score 49 more points with help from Darius Anderson and Lonyae Jones, who finished with 15 and 10 points, respectively.
“It’s always a weird environment over Christmas when you’re kind of out of rhythm with practices and things like that, so it started off slow,” Jefferson coach Kyle Templeton said. “I liked our effort once we got going. We played hard for the most part, but turned the ball over a little too much. When we didn’t turn it over, we got a good shot pretty much anytime we wanted.
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“It was a little bit of holidays and a little bit of discipline,” Templeton added about his three players missing the game. “It was nice we could overcome those guys missing and still play pretty well.”
Defensively, Jefferson was stout, and their length gave Fife issues throughout the game as the Raiders were able to stay in their man-to-man defense without having to go to a zone or a press.
Despite Fife’s struggles, senior center Jephthah Donkor gave the Trojans an added boost in the paint with 12 points and was a force rebounding.
With the win, Jefferson moves on to play Skyview of Vancouver at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the finals of the tournament. Skyview earned its spot with a 60-30 win over Graham-Kapowsin.
“We’re really looking forward to it,” Templeton said of the game against Skyview. “Coach (Matt) Gruhler runs a really good program. Those guys play hard and are well-coached. They have size and good athletes. It’s going to be a tough game. It’s going to be a tough matchup for us, too, sizewise. They’re big, strong bangers and we’re a little more finesse guys outside of Darius, and we run and shoot the ball really well.
“It should be a good contrast of styles and should be a good game. It’s exciting because it doesn’t mean something, but you get to play for a championship in this little tournament, but if we play hard and lose, whatever. It’s an opportunity to make us better.”