Jefferson finds winning ways, beats Martinsburg
With three players scoring 20 or more points, Jefferson dispatched visiting Martinsburg, 74-62, on Friday in Shenandoah Junction to deal the Bulldogs their first loss in Sectional play.
The Jefferson win was the team’s fifth straight success and brought the Cougars even with Martinsburg in Sectional games. The Bulldogs had defeated Jefferson earlier in the season in Martinsburg. Both teams have just one loss against each other and are unbeaten in games with rivals Hedgesville, Musselman, Spring Mills and Washington.
Jalen Smith scored 25 points in the latest win that has seen the Cougars move their record from 7-5 overall to 12-5. Jahlil Jenkins added 20 points and Andrew King also gave the Cougars a 20-point effort.
Jefferson has regularly scheduled games remaining against Sectional rivals Washington (at home on Feb. 13) and Hedgesville (at home on Feb. 26).
Jenkins made 7-of-9 free throws against the Bulldogs and Jefferson was 15-for-22 as a team from the free throw line.
With the regular season rapidly coming toward its end, Jefferson and Martinsburg are currently tied in the loss column with only one each against all other Sectional opponents.
When the Class AAA Sectional tournament begins the first week in March, the top two teams will receive byes in the first round when the No. 3 seed hosts the No. 6 seed and the No. 4 seed hosts the No. 5 seed.
In the Sectional semifinals, the No. 1 seed will host the winner of the No. 4 versus No. 5 game and the No. 2 seed will host the survivor of the No. 6 seed versus the No. 3 seed.
Both of the teams in the Sectional finals — regardless of which team wins — will move on to the Regional playoffs.
In the Regional, the competition will come from Hampshire, Buckhannon, Lewis County and Elkins. Of those four teams, only Hampshire has a winning record in games to date.
In this Sectional, Washington is almost guaranteed to finish with the No. 6 seed and have to play at the home court of the No. 3 seed in the first round.
Musselman, Spring Mills and Hedgesville are in a close race for the No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 seeds, where two of those teams will get to host a first-round game in the Sectional.