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Jefferson maintains its balance

December 20, 2006|by CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - The Jefferson girls basketball team doesn't have one dominant scorer to consistently take control of the offense.

The way the Cougars take it to opposing teams is by penetrating, moving the ball and finding the open player. But as Greencastle-Antrim learned Tuesday night, that open player could be any number of players on the Cougars roster.

Jefferson had four players score in double figures, needing each one to help protect a second-half lead that shrunk to as few as three points as the Cougars held on for a 60-52 victory - their fifth in a row.

Katie Danno had a team-high 15 points, Dezirea Clinton had 12, Aissa Diehl had 11 and Keyara Stevenson added 10 for the Cougars (6-1).

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"We've had a real balanced scoring attack," said Jefferson coach Peachy Diehl. "We don't have one dominant player, which is really a virtue because other teams can't focus on them.

"This is a very unselfish team. They don't care who scores the points, just as long as we score."

Danno and Stevenson each hit four baskets - all in the paint - and helped control the inside, despite giving up size to the Blue Devils (1-6). Danno pulled in nine rebounds and Stevenson grabbed eight - seven in the second half.

Meanwhile, Diehl and Clinton took the ball-handling responsibilities and each had three assists. Diehl kept a close watch on Greencastle scoring threat Chelsea Wolff, holding her to nine points, while making four steals. Two of the turnovers turned into easy transition baskets.

"Diehl is one that, if not for driving and dishing, she could be a one-man show," said Greencastle coach Tara Runkles. "She's always either scoring it or creating it."

Clinton made a pair of steals and scored six points as Jefferson went on a 14-2 run to start the second quarter and open a 28-15 lead - its biggest of the game. She matched Diehl with four steals.

The Blue Devils had a stretch of three straight jump shots later in the second quarter and got layups from Bethany Berger, Rebecca Rider and Sarah Pryor at the end of the half to pull the score to 34-26.

Greencastle cut the deficit to three in the third quarter when Wolff stole the inbounds pass and ran the floor for a layup and drew a foul. She missed the free throw, but got her own rebound and hit a 16-foot jumper to close the gap to 42-39.

But Jefferson got baskets from Clinton, Diehl and a pair of free throws by Danno to up the lead to 48-39. The Cougars led by at least six points for the remainder of the game.

"The girls did fine. They did enough," Peachy Diehl said. "We made our fair share of mistakes and let them in a little more than we should have, but we won."

Rebecca Rider came off the bench to lead Greencastle with 15 points - nine in the first quarter - while Wolff had nine points and five steals.

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