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Cougars learn lesson, finish what they start

February 24, 2009|By TIM KOELBLE

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. -- One week ago, Jefferson bolted to a 20-point lead against Washington and nearly lost it all before prevailing in a 63-61 win.

On Tuesday night, the No. 4 Cougars opened with an 11-0 run. This time, there was no blown lead and Jefferson steamed its way to an 85-76 victory, a margin not clearly defined by the events of the game.

"We jumped on them fast," said Jefferson coach Bob Starkey of the first-year rivalry between the Jefferson County schools. "I don't think you have to say a lot to the kids about getting up for the game. There are not good feelings between the schools already."

Jefferson (12-8) came out with half-court pressure -- moving to three-quarters at times. The Cougars were effective, forcing three turnovers to score six of their first 11 points.

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After a goal by Nick Zbikowski and conventional three-point play by Dewey McDonald, the Cougars scored on consecutive turnovers -- two goals by Garrett Grantham and one by Casey Johnson.

Washington (9-10) finally scored with 4:37 left in the period on a rebound by Mike Morales.

Jefferson even stretched its lead to 14 points -- 20-6 -- in the opener on the way to a 26-14 lead. At the half it was 43-31, only because Washington closed with six points.

"I don't think pressure is to (Washington's) liking," said Starkey. "They had trouble with it the first time we played."

Washington has little time to see if it can crack the pressure since the two teams square off again Thursday on the Patriots' court.

"We haven't given up 85 points all season," said Washington coach Don Bullett. "Tonight we were not good on defense. It was pretty bad. We gotta take pride in defense."

Jefferson used a triple threat that combined for 66 points in the scorebook.

McDonald, the leading scorer in the Tri-State area at 20.7, did nothing to hurt that mark with a 26-point performance, including 15 in the second half to help the Cougars bolt to a 25-point lead.

His support came from freshman Grantham and Johnson, each scoring 20 -- a career high for Johnson. Zbikowski added 10 points and had eight rebounds, two behind McDonald's effort on the glass.

"We can use that kind of scoring," said Starkey. "Garrett got us off to a good start. Johnson is beginning to play like he did in the beginning of the year."

Washington closed the deficit with a 28-point fourth period as the Patriots ended with five players in double figures.

Tyrek Collier led the way with 19, followed by Morales with 18, Charles Yates with 13, Bradley Jackson with 12 and Mark Smith with 10.

"We'll see what mental toughness we have coming back (Thursday)," said Bullett.

Jefferson 85, Washington 76
WASHINGTON (9-10)

Collier 19, Yates 13, Jackson 12, Morales 18, M. Smith 10, Haigler 4. Totals 31 9-15 76.
JEFFERSON (12-8)
Johnson 20, Regalia 6, McDonald 26, Grantham 20, Milbourne 3, Zbikowski 10. Totals 37 8-8 85.
Washington 14 17 17 28 -- 76
Jefferson 26 17 19 23 -- 85

3-point goals -- Washington 5 (Collier 3, Yates, Jackson); Jefferson 3 (McDonald, Grantham, Milbourne). JV -- Jefferson, 46-40.

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