JEFFERSON — It didn’t make much sense.
Through the first 18 minutes, the Jefferson boys basketball team was evidently more talented than visiting Clinton.
But it wasn’t until Jefferson scored eight points in a 29-second stretch to pull away for good before earning a 64-43 victory over Clinton in an RVC game on Thursday night at Jefferson High School.
“We were out there thinking (a run) would eventually just happen and we weren’t making it happen,” Jefferson coach Greg Jefferies said. “We had to come out more focused in the second half and fix a few things. We were running great offense in the first half, but we weren’t putting the ball in the hoop. We were missing layups. It wasn’t good.”
Jefferson turned it around when senior James Monogue grabbed a rebound and threw a baseball-style bounce pass 60 feet up court to Braden McGraw, who made a right-handed layup. After the basket, a Clinton guard was called for a technical which led to Monogue making one free throw and Haygen Miller canning a 3-pointer.
On the ensuing inbounds pass, Jefferson forced a turnover and Reese Fetherston made a layup to give Jefferson a 35-21 lead with 13 minutes, 27 seconds to play.
“I was waiting for it, I knew it would happen eventually but we needed to get some stops and see a couple of shots go in,” Jefferies said. “That’s the way we needed to run things, but it was good to finally get up 15 points or so and get some breathing room. It came a later than I wanted it to.”
The Eagles (8-11, 7-8 RVC) built a 22-18 lead at halftime against the visiting Cougars (0-18, 0-12) and early in the second half, Jefferson looked like it was content letting Clinton hang around.
Monogue scored 15 of his game-high 25 points in the second half; Caleb Stelse scored all 11 of his points in the second half.
“Guys were getting after each other in the locker room at half in a good way, not in a negative way,” Jefferies said. “They were trying to fix some things that were happening in the first half. We ran through some Xs and Os and we knew it wasn’t time to hit the panic button, we just needed to go out and regroup.”
The Eagles scored 42 points in the second half to put the game to the uncompetitive level that was expected.
Up next for Jefferson will be a conference road game at Big Foot Tuesday at 7:15 p.m.
“We had multiple guys who were sick, most teams do,” Jefferies said. “We’ll give them a three-day weekend to hopefully get healthy and play better next week against Big Foot and Evansville.”
JEFFERSON 64, CLINTON 43
Clinton 18 25 — 43
Jefferson 22 42 — 64
Clinton (fg ftm-fta pts) — Doming 3 1-3 7, Espinoza 2 2-3 7, Howard 1 0-0 2, Jacobs 1 3-6 5, Rangel 1 2-4 4, DuCharme 1 0-0 2, C. Peterson 1 2-2 4, Mueller 5 0-0 12. Totals — 15 10-18 43.
Jefferson — Miller 2 0-0 5, McGraw 2 0-0 4, Rechlin 1 1-2 3, Fetherston 2 2-2 6, Hoffman 1 2-4 4, C. Stelse 4 2-3 11, Monogue 9 5-8 25, Vogel 3 0-1 6. Totals — 24 12-20 64.
3-point goals — C 3 (Mueller 2, Espinoza), J 4 (Miller, C. Stelse 4 2-3 11, Monogue 2). Total fouls — C 18, J 19.