FAIRFAX, Mo. — The Jefferson Eagles dominated the East Atchison Wolves 44-19 on Thursday night to clinch the 2018-2019 275 Conference Championship. The Eagles’ defense held the Wolves to a season-low in points.
“It’s one of the goals for the team and fortunately I’ve been around girls where it’s a goal every year,” Eagles coach Tyler Pedersen said. “Going undefeated in conference play — as balanced as the 275 was — is a tribute to these girls coming and wanting to battle every night.”
The Jefferson offense looked off from the beginning. The Eagles missed on two-straight possessions on shots under the basket. Jaclyn Pappert finally broke the cold streak with a basket at the 6:40 mark. Jefferson’s offense went on a spurt of five points in a minute and half.
The East Atchison offense looked even worse as the Eagles’ defense held them scoreless for the first three and a half minutes of the game. The Wolves’ Lily Graves was the first to score and led the East Atchison offense with six of its 11 first-half points.
The Wolves scored on back-to-back possessions just once on offense and that happened in the first quarter. Jaclyn Pappert and Ashley Mattson each scored four points in the first quarter — helping the Eagles take a 10-6 lead into the second quarter.
“Offensively she (Jaclyn Pappert) can score in so many ways — she can score under the basket, she has good post moves and she can even put the ball on the floor,” Pedersen said.
Jefferson began the second quarter with a 6-2 run, with four points coming from Vanessa Pappert. After being held scoreless in the first quarter, the elder Pappert scored six points in the second quarter. The two teams combined for just 14 points in the second quarter.
The Eagles’ offense was non-existent for much of the third quarter, but its defense shut down East Atchison’s offense. Jefferson held the Wolves scoreless for the entire third quarter. The first points of the third quarter came at the 2:30 with a shot from Vanessa Pappert. The senior added one basket to end the quarter and Malia Collins knocked down one-of-two free throws. Those would be the only points scored in the quarter.
“We thought it would be a lot closer than it was — they’re a great team but we did a lot of things right tonight,” Mattson said. “We passed it around well and played great defense.”
Jefferson left little hope for the Wolves in the final quarter; Vanessa Pappert scored five-straight and then a three-pointer from Collins made the score 32-11. East Atchison ended its drought that began at the 2:10 mark of the second quarter with a layup two minutes into the fourth quarter.
Jefferson had its best quarter in the final eight minutes, outscoring the Wolves 17-8.
“We knew we could win, so we just kept shooting and they eventually went in,” Jaclyn Pappert said.
The Eagles handed East Atchison just its second loss of the season. The win was just another step toward accomplishing a goal.
“Winning conference means a lot, there are a lot of teams who we played and we just took one step at a time because we knew every game was just as important as the next,” Mattson said.
Vanessa Pappert led the team with 17 points, scoring nine in the fourth quarter alone. Mattson was second on the team with 10 points. Jefferson will begin districts with South Nodaway on Monday in Graham.