STANBERRY, Mo. — After a 1-2 start to the season, the Jefferson girls’ basketball team has rattled off nine-straight wins to move to 10-2 and they continued that momentum with a 57-33 win over Albany in the first round of the Stanberry Invitational on Monday.
“We played really well as a team I think, especially for the first game of the tournament,” Jefferson senior Vanessa Pappert said. “It was just good to start climbing the mountain to get to the top.”
With the game tied 5-5 early in the first quarter, Jefferson sophomore Sydnee Deen, freshman Stephanie Turpin and Pappert each scored to give the Eagles an 11-5 cushion. The lead was 13-7 after the first quarter.
The second quarter started evenly again with the team’s trading baskets and Jefferson holding onto a 17-11 lead. The Eagles pulled away with a 12-2 run with Vanessa Pappert scoring seven and Jaclyn Pappert scoring five.
Jefferson had to play the end of the second quarter without their starting backcourt Malia Collins and Turpin, but the Eagles were able to avoid disaster without their primary ball handlers because of the versatility of their frontcourt and Vanessa Pappert taking over as the team’s point guard.
“Against teams that really pressure, everybody on the floor has to be able to handle,” Jefferson coach Tyler Pedersen said. “Vanessa is the type of player who plays on the perimeter and can handle the ball and bring it up when we need her to.”
The Eagles took a 29-18 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, Jefferson leaned on their defense to spark a 13-5 run. Pedersen was happy with the way that his team implemented their 1-3-1 defense.
“We switched to a 1-3-1 and that is new for us,” Pedersen said. “It is something we worked on over break. That is something we think we can do better in the 1-3-1 — run the floor better. It puts Malia in a position where she can really get out.”
The primary benefactors of the 1-3-1 look were Vanessa Pappert and Collins who each repeated grabbed steals. Collins had eight points in the third quarter and Jefferson took a 42-27 lead into the fourth quarter.
“It is all anticipation,” Collins said of the zone look. “It is still really new, but hopefully it will just become another option that we can switch into and be an advantage over other teams down the road.”
The teams traded baskets to start the fourth quarter before Collins rattled off five-straight points for a 49-29 lead.
Vanessa Pappert finished with a game-high 19 points while Collins had 17 and Jaclyn Pappert added 13. Sydnee Deen had four and Claire Galbraith and Turpin each had two.
“(Vanessa) hasn’t shot great for several games now, but I thought tonight, she did a nice job of looking for her shot, missed a couple from the perimeter and she went to the basket,” Pedersen said. “She finished a couple shots around the basket, got to the free throw line and then those shots from the perimeter started falling for her.”
Pedersen was also happy with the way his bench performed with Galbraith, Ashley Riley and Amber White each providing key minutes with Collins and Turpin in foul trouble.
“Part of every season is identifying roles and identifying how each player is going to help,” Pedersen said. “As we move along, roles are a little bit more defined and you saw that.”
The Eagles advance to the semifinals to face third-seeded North Andrew on Thursday at 4:30 p.m.
“We just have to play like we did tonight, play as a team and make sure we all stay together,” Vanessa Pappert said.
Albany was led in scoring by sophomore Gabby Newman with 15 points while Sierra Anthony had eight and Emily Poppa had six.
The Warriors will play South Nodaway on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m., in the consolation semifinals.