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Lafayette Jeff opens with 51-38 win over Pioneer
November 22, 2012Lafayette Jefferson High School
Lafayette Jeff scored the first 10 points of the third quarter to rally from a halftime deficit and defeat Pioneer 51-38 in the opener for both teams at the Crawley Center.
It was Jeff’s 11th straight season-opening victory as it prepares for next week’s J&C Hoops Classic. The Bronchos had to work for it against a taller Panthers team that returned four starters from last year’s 19-6 squad.
“That’s a great Pioneer team and they’re going to have a great year,” Jeff coach Scott Radeker said. “They have a lot of kids back from last year’s team. They are a real hard-nosed team and they play really hard. I see them going a long way in Class A.”
Pioneer limited Jeff to one basket in the second quarter and took a 17-14 edge into the locker room at halftime. But the Bronchos scored the first 10 points of the third quarter to grab a 24-17 lead, and the Panthers could only get the game down to two possessions just once.
“I thought the 2-3 zone in the second quarter bothered Jeff and gave us a lift,” Pioneer coach Pat Skaggs said. “It got us ahead. We didn’t execute or play very well in the third quarter. You have to give Lafayette Jeff credit for that. I thought there were times where their pressure bothered us.”
Keaton Hamilton scored 10 of his 12 points over a four-minute stretch of the third quarter to spark Jeff. Quarin Hood topped Broncho scorers with 14 points while Peter Ripke added 10.
“Coach gave us a really good talking to at halftime and we came out fired up in the third quarter,” Hamilton said. “We started knocking down our shots and everything started clicking, better than it was in the first half.”
Lafayette Jeff scored 22 points in the third quarter to take a 36-24 advantage into the final period. Pioneer fought back, cutting the Bronchos’ lead to seven points, 43-36, after a Brandon Scruggs long 3-pointer with 2:22 left.
After getting the ball back with a chance to trim the lead, Lafayette Jeff freshman Darian Collins stepped in front of a Pioneer and went race the length of the court for a layup with 1:20 to all but ice the game.
“That was a big play in the game,” Skaggs said. “Our stats show that we had 11 or 12 turnovers. That’s pretty good, but it seems nearly all of those turnovers led to Jeff baskets. In a game like this, six to eight points are pretty big.”
Pioneer had all the momentum in the second quarter. After trailing 12-7 after the first eight minutes, the Panthers held the Bronchos to two points, a Collins steal and layup at the 6:50 mark.
Matthew Dorris’ turnaround jumper gave Pioneer its first lead at 15-14 with 3:20 left. Carter Skaggs extended the lead to three points on another jumper with 1:15 left.
“I thought we had a real drought in the first half and missed a lot of good looks in the second quarter,” Radeker said. “We settled for the 3-point shot a little too much in the second half. We really didn’t settle for the 3-pointer in the second half and I think that showed. I thought our kid did a good job looking into the middle of the zone and finishing around the basket.”
Scruggs led all scorers with 17 points while Carter Skaggs added 10. Overall, though, Pioneer did not shoot the ball well against Jeff, which constantly pestered ball handlers in the half court. The Panthers shot just 37.5 percent (15 for 40) for the game.
Pioneer held the Bronchos to 22.2 percent shooting in the first half (6 for 27). The Bronchos, though, improved that total to 52.2 percent (22 for 23) in the second half.
Scruggs said there were times that the Panthers got caught up with running with Jeff instead of settling into their offense. He said that lesson will prove valuable as the season goes along.
“Sometimes we got too sped up and got lost on defense too many times,” Scruggs said. “Those are little things that we can fix in practice and we’ll be all right. We need to learn that we need to work on offense, slow down and take smart cuts and not let teams speed us up.”