Prep basketball: Jefferson shakes up conference race
By Matt Nestor
Prep Sports Reporter
Rockford Jefferson won the Harlem Summer League last year, which features most of the NIC-10. But that was a distant memory as the J-Hawks got off to a rough start this season.
Jefferson was an afterthought after losing their first two games in conference. After bouncing back, blowing a 14-point lead at Rockford Boylan Catholic for a fourth loss in the conference appeared to be too much to overcome.
That still may hold true, though four losses may be enough to get into a tie for the conference championship. After winning at Rockford Auburn and Rockford East, the J-Hawks running the table looks a lot more likely.
It started Friday night, Jan. 25, at Auburn, where the J-Hawks entered into halftime in a tight game, only up by 1. Sophomore Antoine Pittman was unsure if he was going to be able to play with a knee injury.
Pittman got off to a slow start, but he ended up scoring 17, with almost all of it coming in the second half, as the J-Hawks won 61-51. Jared Mayes scored 14 and Robert Daniels had 9.
The following night at East, Pittman was able to score 20, only to be outdone by his teammate Mayes, who scored 22, as Jefferson topped the E-Rabs 62-59 to put the conference into a three-way tie.
“We’re just trying to get better,” Jefferson Head Coach Todd Brannan said. “We’re fun to watch when we move the ball well.”
From a conference standpoint, Jefferson is in the thick of things. East, Belvidere and Rockton Hononegah are tied at two losses, while Jefferson, Boylan and Auburn sit with four losses.
But with games between Belvidere and Hononegah, Boylan and East, and Jefferson and Hononegah in the next week, things could get a lot tighter.
More importantly for Jefferson, the win over East may give them a leg up when it comes to regional seedings, which should come out soon. The J-Hawks will be in the East Regional and could be in line for the top seed right now, which should give them an easier path to the regional finals.
From the Jan. 30-Feb. 5, 2013, issue
Print This Article