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December 29, 2013

H.S. BOYS' BASKETBALL: Red Devils use spurts to down Warriors, 70-58

Williams, Ellis lead Jeff past Christian Academy on Saturday

JEFFERSONVILLE — Spurtability is a relative new term, but it’s something that Jeffersonville basketball has been doing for a long, long time.

The Red Devils used one of its patented spurts to start the second quarter and grabbed a double-digit lead it never relinquished. Jeff went on to hold off a pesky Christian Academy team for a 70-58 win on Saturday night at Johnson Arena.

A Drew Ellis dunk capped a decisive 10-2 Red Devils run to open the second period. Jeff (4-1) claimed a 23-13 lead with 5:34 left until halftime and never saw its lead fall to single digits for the remainder of the game.

“That’s what you fear when you play a team that can flat out score,” CAI head coach Steve Kerberg said. “I scouted their Madison game when they put 92 points on the board. We were worried about spurts like that and we tried to limit those. They have guys who can create and flat out score. They have a chance to be a really good team by the end of the year.”

Jeff forced 10 Warriors’ first-half turnovers and led 35-24 at intermission.

“In the second quarter, we were able to run and get some easier shots,” Jeff head coach Matt Pait said. “On defense, we were able to play without fouling and get them in some bad spots where we were able to turn them over.”

The hosts held CAI (5-2) to 38 percent first-half shooting and dominated the backboards to a 22-14 tune.

“We didn’t feel like we had played that well in the first half, but we were still in the game,” said Kerberg, who was a varsity assistant coach at Jeff for six years. “A lot of that has to do with what Jeff does to you. We didn’t feel like we executed very well. But we were still in the game against what I feel can be one of the best teams in the state by the end of the season.”

The Red Devils kept up the pressure in the second half and forced 11 more Warrior giveaways.

Jeff had four players scoring in double figures with Keenan Williams leading the way with 18 points. Ellis scored 12 of his 17 points in the second half and nailed three 3-pointers on the night.

“We don’t have just one guy that’s always our leading scorer,” Pait said. “It could be a different guy every night and that’s the beauty of our team, which is having different weapons. Drew’s been in kind of a slump to start the season. I was happy to see him hit some shots in the fourth quarter. He had some good looks early and they just didn’t fall. I think going to the rim in the fourth gave him some confidence and helped get his outside shot going.”

CAI also placed four players in double figures with Nic Reed’s 17 points pacing the visitors. The Warriors didn’t receive any scoring from their bench, while the Red Devils had 21 points from their reserves.

“They wore us out and that’s what they plan on doing each night,” Kerberg said. “They did a good job. They have a lot of good players.”

Nine different Red Devils scored en route to Jeff’s fourth win of the season.

“We wanted to keep the pressure on,” Pait said. “I thought we had more athletes and a bigger bench than they did. We wanted to get into their bench a little bit and we wanted to get the game up and down to tire them out.”

Junior Myles Harvey did not play for Jeff. The junior guard is still recovering from a head injury suffered in the loss at Clarksville on Dec. 21.

“Myles is day-to-day,” Pait said “He gets re-evaluated on Monday and then we’ll see. They never diagnosed him with a concussion, but I don’t see how it wasn’t a concussion. He’s still got staples in his head so that’s mainly why did didn’t play tonight.”

Jeff will begin play at the Bob Wettig Tournament in Richmond on Thursday against Fox Creek Christian (Ky.). Christian Academy will travel to New Washington on Friday.

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