JEFFERSON — Jefferson and Lakeview showed off their shooting range early in Friday night’s boys basketball All-American Conference game at Jefferson. But after each team cooled off from deep midway through the second quarter, the Bulldogs took over inside to defeat the Falcons 71-57.
Lakeview opened the game with two straight 3-pointers and jumped out to a 10-3 lead forcing an early Jefferson timeout. Then, the Falcons got into the mix.
Jason Vance and Andre Vance hit back-to-back threes to close the deficit down to three and that was just the start.
The two teams combined for 39 points and 10 3-pointers in the opening quarter. Andrew Vance accounted for two of Jefferson’s five and Lakeview’s Daniel Evans made three, including a stepback 3-pointer to end the first quarter. He finished the frame with 11 points.
“For a fan, that’s a great first quarter to watch,” Lakeview coach Ryan Fitch said. “We knew they could shoot the ball, we got high hands on them, but they just made some tough shots. And I give our kids credit, we matched every shot that went in.”
Evans and Jefferson’s Brandon Strang kicked off the second with three more 3-pointers, then suddenly, neither team could hit from deep and the game shifted from a three-point contest to who’d make the necessary adjustments first.
The Bulldogs (12-5, 7-4 AAC) beat the Falcons (3-13, 0-9 AAC) to the punch by transforming themselves into a low-post, physical team.
Jefferson had no answer for its size.
Lakeview’s Jake Remmick scored four second-chance points in the quarter and freed himself up for a backdoor layup. The Bulldogs finished the game with 16 second-chance points, nine uncontested layups and every point they scored came from inside the paint, behind the three-point line or at the charity stripe.
They outrebounded the Falcons 42-20.
Jefferson coach Robert Faulker attributed his team’s defensive struggles to its lack of height and communication.
“When they get us down in the middle, they slipped a couple of screens and we got caught with two guys on one,” Faulkner said. “You can tell that, the second quarter … that’s where the momentum changed.”
The Bulldogs entered Friday night’s matchup as a team with more questions than answers. A week prior, they were winners of nine in a row and perhaps one of the hottest teams in the AAC.
Since, they have dropped back-to-back game — albeit against Poland and Edgewood, the top two teams in the division.
Fitch said Friday’s result and the way his team bounced back answered a lot of questions.
“I just told the kids, ‘You know we played two very good teams the last two games and I really don’t feel like we have a bad loss,” he said.
Jefferson, on the other hand, has lost seven of its last eight games and remains winless in AAC play. Still, Faulker remains optimistic.
“They’re starting to gel,” he said. “It’s a phase thing but I can say they’re playing well. I’m enjoying it.”
With an 0-9 conference record, the Falcons have long been eliminated from any chance at a conference crown, but that doesn’t mean they still don’t have something to play for.
“We want to spoil somebody’s party when tournament time comes around,” Faulkner joked.
Jason Vance led Jefferson with 17 points. Both Brandon Strang and Jake Butler finished with 10 points.
Evans, who scored 17 of his 19 points in the first half, led Lakeview. Remmick, Drew Munno and Aj McClellan added 16, 15 and 11 points, respectively.