By STEVE GOLDMAN
For the Star Beacon
In high school basketball, a team can have a size advantage in terms of physicality, or it can have a size advantage as it pertains to the enrollments of the two schools. On Saturday night at Ledgemont, the Jefferson boys had both, and they came away 82-49 winners.
David Chase had a big game in the post, with 29 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots, to lead the Falcons (3-2, 1-1) in the non-conference battle. Jefferson led on the boards by a 58-38 count.
“David’s a special player and he’s a special talent,” Jefferson coach Steve French said. “He’s finally understanding what we want him to do. In the Edgewood game and this game, I thought he played very well. He played excellent tonight, and took the ball to the hole strong.”
French related that this was the first time an opponent has played the zone against his team the entire way.
“We usually rebound pretty well. We crashed well tonight. It’s tough to rebound out of the zone; it’s one of the weaknesses of a zone. So we always look to take advantage of that when someone zones us up.”
The Falcons played at a fast pace. They were able to force the Redskins (0-4, 0-1) into 34 turnovers, although they gave up the ball 27 times themselves.
“We wanted to get out and trap early and apply some pressure,” French said. “Too many turnovers. We have to clean that up. That’s been our Achilles’ heel this year.”
“We’re good in the 2-3,” Ledgemont coach Greg Fronk said. “I’m limited on my bench. We go to man-to-man, and we pick up fouls.”
An 11-0 run provided a 13-4 first-quarter Falcon lead. At the end of the period it was 22-9, and they pushed it steadily to 40-17 late in the half.
Early in the second half, Jefferson ran off 10-straight points to make it 53-25. The Redskins did close to 61-41 early in the fourth quarter, but the Falcons responded with six consecutive points.
Lucas Hitchcock had 11 points and nine boards, Sam Caskey 10 points and five steals, James Jackson had eight points, five thefts and five blocks and Joe Jackson four steals for Jefferson.
Devin Rupinski had 17 points, six steals and four blocks, Logan Leichtman 11 points and two blocks, Steve Conklin eight caroms and Jarrett Young five steals for Ledgemont.
Fronk related that it was not a matter of his team not doing something it could have -- just that the opponent was better.
“We didn’t want to do anything different,” he said. “We’re working on our game. We face these teams with the mentality of ‘We’re improving for our own benefit.’ They’re bigger, they’re stronger and they’re choosing from 400 more kids than we are. I’m working with what I have, and so I could care less about what their guys are doing; I’m caring (whether) we’re improving.
“We face teams like this, and people question why. But every time we play a team like this, we get better.”
Fronk pointed to the fact the Redskins shot better than they had the night before against Edgewood.
“We took better shots, we took it to the hole, we took the pressure,” he said. “And they came out with some great man-to-man, and the Ashtabula (County) teams always do. We handle it much better every time we step on the floor.
“Good luck to them. I hope they do well, and I hope they understand that we’re improving too, and that we’re thankful that they do take us on, even though the scoreboard doesn’t always show the competitiveness.”
“It’s good to get some work against (the zone),” French said. I thought we did OK. We need a few more bounce passes inside — too many bad passes, too many turnovers.”
Goldman is a freelance writer from South Euclid.