By BOB ETTINGER
For the Star Beacon
PERRY TOWNSHIP —
The first seven minutes of the Jefferson boys basketball team’s season did not go too well and it led to a 67-35 loss to Cornerstone Christian at the Perry Tipoff Tournament on Friday night at Spectator Gymnasium.
The Falcons (0-1) fell behind, 14-0, over the first 7:51 and never recovered.
“It’s a game of runs,” Jefferson coach Jeremy Huber said. “That didn’t hurt us that much.
“It is a tough start. We had a couple easy looks that we didn’t finish. One positive we can take is we outrebounded them (38-36). At least I know there’s effort there.”
Troy Bloom’s 3-pointer nine seconds to play in the opening quarter gave the Falcons their first points.
The Patriots (1-0) used runs of 7-0 and 11-0 in the second period to take a 34-12 halftime lead.
“We wanted to get out and change ends,” Cornerstone Christian coach Dan Selle said. “We put pressure on their ballhandlers. Coach Huber runs a great program. We took their big out with foul trouble and that hurt them.
“We wanted to come out and play chest-to-chest defense on them.”
That chest-to-chest defense forced 31 Jefferson turnovers — 17 on steals. Jefferson was also just 12 of 51 (23.5 percent) from the field.
“What we’ve got to improve upon is turnovers,” Huber said. “We had way too many turnovers. It comes down to practicing ballhandling and executing our offensive sets.”
R.J. Spaller led the Patriots with 16 points, Bryan Gee had 12 and Isaiah McQueen added 11 points, 13 boards and three blocks.
“Their point guard got to the basket too easily,” Huber said. “They play at a fast speed. That’s a good team. My hat’s off to them. This game will only make us better.”
Bloom led the Falcons with 19 points. No other Jefferson player scored more than David Chase’s four points. Chase added nine rebounds and six blocks.
Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.