Jemison hosts Thanksgiving Tournament

Published 3:34 pm Monday, November 21, 2016

Ty Leachman (No. 23) tightly guards a Jefferson Christian ball-handler. (Photo by Anthony Richards)

Ty Leachman (No. 23) tightly guards a Jefferson Christian ball-handler. (Photo by Anthony Richards)

It was a fast start that helped propel the Jemison boys basketball team to a 65-53 victory over Jefferson Christian on the opening day of competition in the school’s Thanksgiving Tournament.

The Panthers came out red-hot from the field and scored the first 10 points of the game that included 3-pointers from Will Johns and Ty Leachman.

“I’ve had to step up a lot more on the offensive end,” Johns said.

However, the double-digit lead shrunk after Jefferson Christian went on a run of its own and Jemison led 19-14 after one quarter of play.

The intensity picked up in the second quarter, as the Panthers’ played lockdown defense and forced the issue offensively with drives to the basket.

“We started passing the ball and looking for more open shots instead of forcing threes,” Johns said.

As a result, Jemison outscored Jefferson Christian 14-3 in the quarter and built a 33-17 halftime lead.

The Panthers picked up the pressure with a full-court defensive scheme at times throughout the second half.

“We hadn’t worked on the press that much, and thought that today would be a good day to see it,” McGehee said. “I wanted to see if we could put the game away.”

Despite producing some points out of the press, Jefferson Christian was able to cut the deficit to 13 at the end of the third quarter.

“In the first half we kept attacking the rim, but we became complacent in the second half and began shooting not the best percentage shots,” McGehee said.

Something to build on was the play in the post and the consistency shown on glass and in the rebounding battles.

“We’ve got to get more focused on understanding game situations,” McGehee said. “Our goal should be to make possessions more important.”

Ryan Thompson and Johns each scored a team-high 16 points, with the majority of Thompson’s buckets coming from put back opportunities down low.

Half of Thompson’s points came in the fourth quarter, as the Panthers secured the win down the stretch.

Leachman finished with 13 points, while Wes McGehee added 10.

“We’re still defining roles and developing a team concept,” McGehee said. “Once we do that, I think we’ll be OK.”

The Jemison girls basketball team defeated Jefferson Christian 47-28 prior to the start of the boys game.