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No. 7 Jefferson tops No. 5 Applemen, 63-56

February 07, 2008|By JOHN O'BRIEN

INWOOD, W.Va. -- By the time Jefferson boys basketball coach Bob Starkey stopped complaining to an official and took his seat on the bench, his team had essentially sealed a win against No. 5 Musselman Wednesday.

Despite 30-percent shooting and trailing by four in the fourth quarter, four Cougars scored in double-figures to lead No. 7 Jefferson's 63-56 comeback win in a game that put each team's record at 11-5.

Key was a wild sequence late in the fourth when Musselman coach Derek Basile was charged with a technical foul for arguing with a referee on a play that could have cut Jefferson's lead to one, but instead put the Cougars up five with the ball.

"I didn't really see what happened," Starkey said. "I was griping about something to the referee. I don't remember what.

"I headed back to my seat and turned around, and the technical had been called."

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Trailing 57-54 with a little more than a minute left, Musselman's Diego Pons took control of a pass near the foul line and headed right toward the basket. It appeared that he was pushed in the back, causing him to stumble out of bounds while cradling the ball.

Instead of a foul that would have put Pons on the line, traveling was called, and a livid Basile took a timeout so he could argue for a few seconds before being hit with the technical.

"He picks the ball up because he gets pushed in the back. That's a foul when you get pushed in the back and have to take a step forward," Basile said.

"Unfortunately, that was a case of me hurting the team. I feel bad for the team. It was my fault."

Justin Fagan made both free throws for a 61-56 lead, and Musselman never got closer. Fagan made all 10 of his free throws with eight coming in the fourth, scoring a team-high 16 points.

Dewey McDonald made only 5 of his 20 shots but managed 14 points, Vance Hosby coupled 12 points with 20 rebounds and Tyler Hester scored 10 after battling an illness that kept him out of practice for an entire week.

"We were seriously wounded the last two games," Starkey said. "This is a very gratifying win."

In the third, though, it didn't look like a win was going to happen. A 14-3 run energized by Pons' six points erased Jefferson's seven-point lead and gave the Applemen a 44-40 lead.

But Jefferson battled back in the fourth, beginning with McDonald's 3-pointer that cut the Applemen lead to 50-49 with four minutes left.

Hosby scored on a pass from Yates to make it 52-51, and a pair of free throws from Hagan gave Jefferson the lead with three minutes left. On Musselman's next possession, McDonald came up with a steal and converted a dunk on the other end.

Morgan McDonald led the Applemen with 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting and grabbed 14 rebounds.

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