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Cougars edge private schools, Silver Oak to open campaign

By Staff | Dec 12, 2018

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Highland View Academy from just outside Hagerstown fell to Jefferson by 10 points. In a mixer tournament staged at Hedgesville, the Cougars got by Broadfording Christian Academy by a 40-37 count, and in its second game in the Hedgesville event, Jefferson edged Silver Oak Academy from Keymar, Maryland, 56-53.

Jefferson’s games, following the first three and date at Silver Oak Academy, were at home against the St. John’s Saints from Front Royal (owners of an 0-1 record after an 80-39 loss to Loudoun County Homeschool), Heritage (Leesburg) with a 3-1 early-season record, Trinity Christian (Morgantown, with a 3-0 record after victories over Clay-Battelle, Philip Barbour and Grafton), Faith Christian Academy from Roanoke (owners of a 4-2 mark against other Christian schools) and Tuscarora High (Leesburg, with its 1-4 record).

Justin Hall, sophomore Ahmad Lesesne and Taylor Tennant have played the most minutes in Jefferson’s first three games. Daion Taylor, Trey Barlow, freshman Sam Wabnitz and Corbin Pierson have all seen some playing time in the wins over Highland View Academy, Broadfording Christian Academy and Silver Oak Academy.

After the first spate of games against non-conference competition, the Cougars will eventually have home-and-home series against the area’s Class AAA Sectional and Regional teams that include Martinsburg, Musselman, Hedgesville, Spring Mills, Hampshire and Washington.

Hall, a 6-foot-4 inside player, and Tennant, the team’s usual point guard, are seniors and return from last season’s team that finished with a 9-14 overall record.

Jefferson’s first actual road game was earlier this week at Silver Oak Academy. And then there were scheduled to be a pair of two-game tournaments in Shenandoah Junction before December was over.

Jefferson’s reserve corps also have Keion Beane and Jordan Butts ready for the call from coach Richard Lewis.

In order to do much in the post-season and move along the tournament path, the Cougars have to find some way to defeat Martinsburg, Musselman and Hedgesville — three teams that did not lose a game between them to the 2017-2018 Cougar edition.

Martinsburg and Musselman represented this area at last season’s Class AAA state tournament.

Once late-January comes to the schedule, the Cougars will see only the Sectional and Regional teams that they have to contend with two times in the regular season.

When the Martinsburg, Musselman and Hedgesville teams finally meet the Cougars, Jefferson will need adequate rebounding, some answer to full-court pressure defense and some scoring from more than just a few players in order to climb over any of those teams.