Cougars top rival Patriots in overtime
Same story, different outcome.
Both times the Washington and Jefferson boys basketball teams have taken the court, it’s been a close battle between the Eastern Panhandle Athletic Conference foes. In the first meeting, Washington pulled out a win late in the game.
On Friday night, the Cougars walked away with the victory, picking up a 54-50 win in overtime.
“We played hard. We can play a little smarter, but we played hard and we got the win. The biggest thing is a sectional game, they’re all going to be like that,” Jefferson coach Richard Lewis said. “When we’re playing them, Martinsburg, whoever, it’s going to be like that. Overall, we played hard. We played good enough to win. We just gotta get better down the stretch, executing and finishing games out. We finished it out in the right way.”
Washington’s Hunter Coates split a pair of foul shots with 54.1 seconds left in the fourth quarter to make the score 50-48, and Branden Pitts evened the score at 50 with 20.2 seconds left to send the game into overtime.
Jefferson’s Mason Gray hit one of two foul shots with 2:07 left in overtime to give the Cougars a 51-50 lead, and Alex Tennant added a foul shot a minute later. Juluan Plaza closed the game with a pair of free throws with 1.7 seconds left to seal the win.
A pair of missed 3-pointers in the final minutes hurt Washington, but coach Taylor Vazquez knows not every shot can fall.
“That’s the worst we’ve shot all season. That was unbelievable,” Vazquez said. “I think we played hard. We just couldn’t make a shot. It was like that the whole game. It happens. Nights like that happen. To shoot like that and go to overtime and nearly win the game, you’re going to have nights you don’t shoot well, but it is what it is. I think they played hard.”
Jefferson opened the game with a 6-0 lead, but the Patriots answered with 14 straight points, including five from Coates and six from Mikel McDaniel.
The Cougars fought back with a 14-point run of their own, taking a 20-14 lead midway through the second quarter. Jordan Dragon led the Cougars during the stretch with six points. Four points from Scooter Gaskins late in the half stretched the Cougar lead to eight, but a 3 from Washington’s Trajon Brown sent the game into halftime with the score 26-21.
The Patriots came out of the break with new life, going on a 7-0 run to take a 28-26 lead. Parker Jackson added four points, and Pitts split of a pair of foul shots. McDaniel capped the run with a basket.
Washington maintained a small lead, going ahead by four after a three-point play by Jackson and later six on back-to-back baskets by Jackson and Brown.
A basket by Tennant and two foul shots by Dragon pulled the Cougars to within two by the end of the quarter.
“We got some stops (defensively) when we needed them, especially the last three or four possessions. Played zone tough. Played man tough. We got stops. We got rebounds when we needed to, and that’s what we talked about after the Martinsburg game was eliminating offensive boards. It still was tough, but we did a better job,” Lewis said.
It stayed a two-point game through early in the fourth until Plaza and Dragon hit back-to-back shots to give Jefferson a 50-46 lead.
Dragon paced the Cougars with 17 points, while Scooter Gaskins added 10. Jackson and Coates led the Patriots with 13 and 10 points, respectively.