The Jefferson Blue Jays Girls Basketball Team (3-3) hosted an earlier than usual Senior Night on Thursday, taking on the Oak Ridge Bluejays (1-2). Jefferson took the lead in the first quarter, and despite strong play from both teams, the Blue Jays controlled the lead the entire game. That continuous dominance led to a massive 52-38 Senior Night victory.
Jefferson came into Thursday needing a victory after a disappointing 72 to 21 loss to West County earlier in the week. This Blue Jays vs. Bluejays matchup was an unfamiliar one for both sides, with this game marking the first time the two schools have played each other this century.
Jefferson was the team getting off to a hot start Thursday night, controlling the first quarter and dominating the second to take a 33-21 lead at halftime. Despite scoring only two points in the first quarter, senior Laney Smith’s 12-point second quarter was key to Jefferson being able to pull away from Oak Ridge.
The second half saw Oak Ridge begin to buckle down on defense, holding Jefferson to just eight points in the third quarter and 11 in the fourth. However, Jefferson’s defense was just as good, holding Oak Ridge to a combined 17 second-half points, leading to a convincing 52-38 win.
Head Coach Zac McVey talked about how remarkable it was for his team to win on one of the most important nights of their season.
“I’m proud of how the girls played. They executed on both sides of the ball, and it’s always special to get a win on senior night,” McVey said. “We have a group of seniors that are working hard and progressing every day. We took another step in the right direction. Now we need to keep that momentum into next week.”
It was a standout performance for Smith, leading the game in scoring with a season-high 25 points on the night. Twelve of them came in the second quarter alone, as she hit 11 shots from the field and one three-pointer.
Another senior who had a strong outing was Morgan Fuller, who did an excellent job stretching the floor for Jefferson and knocking down some big shots. Fuller ended with eight points, draining a three-pointer in both the first and third quarters.
After the game, Fuller talked about how vital the energy the team provided was to the game.
“The energy was there for the entire game, which was something that we try to focus on because we play so much better when it’s there,” Fuller said. “It was a team effort, and it really couldn’t have been done without everyone.”
Catryn Cattoor continued her strong start to the season on Thursday, playing with a high level of “toughness” and “grit,” as her coach described all night. In the end, Cattoor finished with seven points on three shots from the field and a free throw.
Like her teammate Fuller, Cattoor mentioned the importance of the Blue Jays’ energy.
“Senior night came a little earlier than usual, but it was still a really special night for me and my teammates. ” Cattoor said. “We brought a lot of energy, took quality shots and ended up with a great win.”
A few other Blue Jays who had strong nights were seniors Katie Pope and Riley Jackson. Both Pope and Jackson had scoreless evenings, but Pope’s passing ability and aggression towards the rim and Jackson’s strong defensive and rebounding performances were tremendous for Jefferson.
Now armed with a winning record of 4-3, Jefferson plays one more game before the new year when they take on the St. Vincent Indians (1-3) on Monday night.