Jefferson opener against Legacy Christian
It’s the third season as Jefferson’s head coach for Richard Lewis.
Lewis and the mostly experienced Cougars will open the season in just four days (December 9) with a home game against Legacy Christian, a team from Stephens City, Virginia that had just six players when it lost for the sixth time in seven games in late November against Grace Christian Academy of Hagerstown.
Four of Jefferson’s first five games are against private schools or Christian schools, including Silver Oak Academy (once known as Bolling Brook Academy from Keymar, Maryland), Broadfording Christian Academy from Hagerstown and Caesar Chavez Charter School.
The Cougars return an experienced group of players that did the vast majority of last year’s scoring and rebounding.
Jalen Smith, Christian Johnson, Andrew King and Jahlil Jenkins all played major roles in last year’s Cougar production.
Michael Tennant is also returning. Tennant is a senior in his final season as are King, Smith, Rashad Lee, Brandon Grafton, Leon Waldron and Tyler Stehr.
Sophomore center Juluan Plaza (6-foot-4) is Jefferson’s tallest player. Michael Bratton is another sophomore and point guard Zach Larue and Ryan Popkins are juniors on this 2014-15 edition of the Cougars.
After its early spate of games against private schools the Cougars will play two games in the annual Martinsburg Mixer, participate in the DMV Elite Showcase and the MLK Showcase while mixing in games against Martinsburg, Hedgesville, Musselman, Spring Mills, Handley, Hampshire and Washington from the public school sector.
Lewis has longtime area coach Vic Holmes as one of his assistants. Holmes has been a varsity coach at Martinsburg and in Loudoun County, Virginia and was Don Bullett’s assistant for six seasons at Washington before Bullett retired from coaching after last season.
Other than the Nike Hoopfest (December 13), four of the first five games are at home.
Lewis can present a forceful group of starters, seems to have enough size for a winning high school team and should be able to find balanced scoring, at least in the season’s first few weeks.
Can the Cougars unseat Martinsburg and Hedgesville as this season’s area favorites? Washington fielded an all-senior group of starters last year when it registered an unbeaten regular season and finally lost in the state tournament’s semifinals.
Quickness, a wealth of experienced starters and three or four players who could score in double figures every night are Jefferson’s long suits this season.