The Jeffersonville High School boys’ basketball team juiced up its pressure to start the second half, forced turnovers on Clarksville’s first three possessions and cruised to a 77-59 victory Friday night in Johnson Arena.
The Red Devils (5-1), who hadn’t played the Generals (5-1) since 1997, led just 32-30 at halftime but scored the first seven points of the third quarter and pulled away from there. When Drew Ellis capped a 14-1 run with a layup with 2:41 left in the third quarter, the Red Devils’ lead ballooned to 55-36.
“Our pressure caused them a few turnovers,” said Jeff coach Chad Gilbert, whose team is No. 12 in Class 4-A. “But Clarksville’s got a great team, and they’re going to have a lot of success. We want to wear them down a little bit.”
Coach Jason Connell of Class 2-A No. 4 Clarksville said it wasn’t as much what Jeff did as how his team handled the situation.
“It’s the thing we’ve stressed for four days,” he said. “We just lost focus on the offensive end.”
Connell said he wanted his team to be patient on the offensive end, and “we did a good job of that in the first half.”
“I don’t think they did anything different,” said Connell, whose team had won 23 of its previous 26 games over the past two seasons. “Maybe their pressure picked up a little bit. It was all on us. It was the things we didn’t do. We stood around on offense.”
Still, his team kept battling. Calvin McEwen, who scored 10 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter, hit two 3-pointers to slice the lead to 61-51 with 5:45 left, but Clarksville couldn’t get closer.
“I told the team I was proud of them, going into a hostile environment like this. You played as hard as you can,” Connell said. “It’s going to help us in the long run. That’s why you play these games, to help us at tournament time. … I want to play the best.
“All in all, the kids battled. That’s all you can ask.”
Jeff’s Darryl Baker, who came in averaging 26 points, did his part with 32 points and scored 20 of those in the first half.
“We wanted to go right to Darryl early on,” Gilbert said. “He’s a tough matchup for anybody. That’s no secret. It’s what we try to do.”
Drew Ellis added 14 points and Myles Harvey 11 for the Red Devils.
“We’ve got good shooters,” Gilbert said. “We just need to make sure we know what a good shot is. Our kids are good basketball players, and they’re learning how to play.”
Aidan McEwen, who missed 10 of his first 11 shots, came alive in the second half and led the Generals with 16 points.
“He’s a strong player,” Gilbert said. “With a guy like that, you just want to slow him down a little bit.”
Clarksville (5-1) – C.McEwen 13, Coleman 3, Johnson 8, A.McEwen 16, Parrish 2, Smith 5, Jones 12.
Jeffersonville (5-1) – Baker 32, Chandler 4, Ellis 14, Shackleford 2, White 2, Williams 12, Harvey 11.
3-point goals – Baker 2, Williams 2, Harvey, C.McEwen2, Coleman, Johnson 2, Smith, Jones.