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Lafayette Jeff boys break five-game losing streak with victory over Western
February 24, 2014Lafayette Jefferson High School
The Lafayette Jefferson boys basketball team broke a five-game losing streak with a convincing 73-55 victory over Western Tuesday night at Crawley Center.
“We have been waiting for this to happen,” Bronchos coach Scott Radeker said. “This is as close as a full 32-minute game that we have played all year.”
Jeff (5-14) has had trouble closing out victories this year. Of their 14 losses, seven have been by eight points or less.
“We needed this for a confidence boost,” Radeker said. “We needed this after losing to Anderson. We were up by five with a minute left and couldn’t win it. Now, we are back on track where we need to be.”
Western (11-5) had won seven out of its last eight games, but the Bronchos took it to the Panthers early and never trailed. Jeff stretched a three-point lead to 16 points with a 13-0 run spanning the end of the first quarter and the start of the second quarter. The Bronchos were up 24-8 with seven minutes left in the half, but Western rallied to pull within 10, 29-19, at the break.
“We shot the ball a little quick at the end of the second quarter,” Radeker said. “We talked about it at halftime. We were much better in the third quarter. We thought we could drive and get to the rim, and that is what we did in the second half.”
And Jefferson did it well. The Bronchos missed just seven shots in the second half, going 20 of 27, with the majority of the points coming off layups. The ringleader in the offensive burst was sophomore Darian Collins. Normally a starter, Collins came off the bench to lead Jeff with 19 points, 15 in the second half.
“I wanted to come out harder since I didn’t start,” Collins said. “I wanted to show them that even though I wasn’t starting that I could come out and play hard. I just kept my mind in the game.”
Western got within seven of Jeff, 31-24, at the outset of the third quarter. Then, the Bronchos’ quickness took over, forcing the Panthers into numerous turnovers and turning those into layups at the other end. Jeff went on a 13-2 run to take its biggest lead of the night at 44-26 with 3:40 left in the quarter.
This time, there was no letup in the final eight minutes. The Bronchos were able to maintain an 18- to 20-point lead the whole quarter.
“We only attempted three 3s in the second half,” Radeker said. “We thought we could get to the rim, and the kids did a good job of recognizing there was little resistance there when they went.
“This is just a huge win for us. We finish the regular season against two really great teams in Brownsburg and Hamilton Southeastern. They are both very good teams, but this win will help us down the road.”
In addition to Collins’ 19 points, David Hanyard had 17, Quarin Hood 16 and Devin Haney 12. Des Balentine led Western with 22, followed by Evan Warden with 18. Jeff forced Western into 16 turnovers and shot 60 percent from the field.