Jefferson Win First Game of the Season in St. Vincent Round Robin, 61-43 The Jefferson Blue Jays Basketball Team (0-3) got off to a shaky start this season and looked to get their season back on track Friday night in the final round of the St. Vincent Round Robin against the Herculaneum Black Cats (0-3). The Blue Jays looked like they’d be involved in another tight game in the first half, but a huge third quarter gave control of the game to Jefferson, and with it a dominant 61-43 win.
The Blue Jays entered Friday night’s matchup on the heels of their third straight loss to open the season against the Valle Catholic Warriors. Similarly, the Blue Jays opponent Herculaneum has also opened its season on a three-game losing streak. The Black Cats are a familiar foe for the Blue Jays, with both of them playing in the same conference. Jefferson has had the upper hand in the last few matchups, winning four games in a row dating back to the 2017-18 season. Last season, the Blue Jays took home a 53-52 win in their single game with Colby Ott putting up a game high 18 points.
It looked like it would be another close game between the two conference opponents, with Jefferson holding a 10-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Blue Jays extended their advantage in the second quarter and entered the end of the half up 28-18. Ott led the game in scoring at halftime, putting up 11 points after knocking down three three-point attempts and three free throws.
Up 10 points, Jefferson still had work to do to close out the game in the second half, and a dominant 21-7 showing in the third quarter is precisely what the Blue Jays needed. Drew Breeze had a huge third quarter after not scoring in the first half, scoring eight points and knocking down two three-pointers. The fourth quarter saw an offensive resurgence from the Black Cats, but it was too little too late, and Jefferson left with a 61-43 win.
Head coach Sean Breeze was ecstatic that Jefferson got its first win of the year, but cautioned that work still needs to be done.
“The boys are showing improvement each day and brought a great defensive effort,” Breeze said. “Our offense is still not in rhythm, but our help defense is what won this game for us. It was truly a complete team effort.”
Ott picked up where he left off from last year’s game against Herculaneum, leading the game in scoring with 19 points on 5-13 shooting and 5-6 from the free throw line. Ott had a tremendous game on defense, snagging five steals and a block while also grabbing four rebounds and dishing out three assists. After the game, Ott talked about how glad he was to get their first win of the year.
“Felt good to get a win under our belt,” Ott said. “Now we know what we need to do to keep winning.” The other Blue Jay to end with a double-digit mark in the scoring column was Senior Daylen Whitener, who finished the game with 13 points on 4-9 shooting and 4-4 from the free throw line. Whitener also contributed four rebounds, an assist and two steals.
Whitener commented following the game about how it was nice to be back in winning form.
“It was nice to finally get our feet back under us,” Whitener said. “And it’s always nice to beat Herculaneum.” Jefferson got some significant contributions from Drew Breeze and Colton Richardson, with the pair of them ending the game with eight points. Breeze got all eight of his points in the third quarter, going 3-4 from the field and adding four rebounds, an assist and a steal. Richardson got his eight points on 4-9 shooting and led the team in rebounds with six to go along with two assists.
Breeze echoed the sentiments made by his head coach, Sean Breeze, and commented on the team’s biggest strength moving forward.
“We played strong defense, and we set the tone and shook them.” Breeze said. “We are a physical team. That’s going to be our best strength.”
The Blue Jays will look to make it two wins in a row on Tuesday, December 8, when they take on the Potosi Trojans (1-2) at home.