Running to victory

Grand Valley's Michael McGovern (10) defends Jefferson's Zack Pasanen (3) on Saturday night at Jefferson.


JEFFERSON — After allowing Grand Valley to retake the lead early in the fourth quarter, Jefferson scored 15 of the game’s next 18 points and held on for a 69-59 non-conference boys basketball victory on Saturday night.

The win snapped a six-game losing streak.

“I think the kids needed this one,” Jefferson coach Robert Faulker said. “Defensively, I thought we played well. We limited their second chance points, and we were shooting well. … “I thought we played a really good game tonight.”

The smaller Falcons (4-13) wasted no time revealing their game plan. As soon as they got the ball, whether it be from a missed shot or an inbounds pass after allowing a GV basket, they wanted to run.

And Zack Pasanen made it possible early.

The senior battled with the taller Mustangs and pulled down rebounds five in the first quarter. As soon as he got the ball he found an outlet pass or just took it down court himself, and Jefferson sprinted out to an early 17-7 lead.

“We were playing a tall team so we had to run,” said Jefferson senior Jason Vance, who finished the game with 19 points.

The Mustangs (8-9) closed the deficit down to two points at halftime and took a brief one-point lead early in the third quarter, but Jefferson scored two-straight fastbreak layups followed by back-to-back 3-pointers from Brandon Strang. Strang released the second three as his coach yelled “patience” from the sidelines.

GV responded with a 10-2 run, capped of by a Michael McGovern spin-move layup to take a 41-40 lead.

Then, the Falcons made their run.

With 5:40 remaining in the game, Jason Vance capitalized on a kick out from Strang to put Jefferson up 43-41 and the Mustangs began to unravel.

On three of the following four possessions, GV rushed its shot and fouled a Falcon while fighting for the rebound. Jefferson scored five points from the charity stripe before GV scored again.

Shortly after GV found its first basket since it last led, Vance responded with a 3-pointer from the corner and forced Mustangs coach Justin Turk to call timeout.

“Time and time again we had too many lapses in judgement,” Turk said. “We told them not to help on any drives, stay home, and two or three times they banged threes on us. We (try to) help out and we don’t even get into the lane to help out and we get caught in no-man’s land.”

The Mustangs kept pushing and tried to make one last surge, but the Falcons took care of business at the foul line and never gave GV a chance.

Jefferson made 17 of its 18 foul shots in the final quarter and 21 of 25 throughout the game. The Mustangs only made 7 of their 17 attempts.

GV’s Jude Cunningham scored a game-high 24 points.

Pasanen matched Vance’s 19 points and also added a team-high 10 rebounds.

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