By Jeremy McDonald
JEFFERSON, Ore.– Jefferson survived a scare straight out of a horror movie Thursday night.
The Lions were prepared for a battle, but their first quarter hot start wasn’t out of the realm of possibility against Central Linn in their 64-63 victory.
The one-point victory, their sixth-straight win to kick-off the season, was at one-point a near 20-point lead. Jefferson once had held a 18-5 lead after one and 26-7 during the second half before the Cobras began to head up. Making it 32-17 by the halftime break.
This contest, like the one Wednesday night against Regis, was a test against a scrappy team. How can and will you respond? It was truly eye-opening as Central Linn began to chip away at the once 19-point deficit going into the third quarter.
“Oh it was huge because that second half we probably played the worst half of basketball our team has played all season,” said Danny Aguilar. “But that first half, when we’re clicking we’re a tough team to beat. Even though we got some new guys, we got really good chemistry so it was huge for us.”
Danny Aguilar scored nine of his 16 points in the first half. The Cobras increased the ball pressure, forcing uncharacteristic turnovers from the Lions offense, cutting the then 15-point halftime lead to nine during the third quarter.
Central Linn hit seven of their three-pointers in the second half, catching the Lions in a pickle that Jefferson struggled to snap out of. One of the three’s, coming from Aaron Crowell that had tied the game up at 59 with 1:53 left in the game.
“They started pressing us and we kept turning it over, we’re acting like we couldn’t handle the pressure and they couldn’t miss,” Jace Aguilar said. “We missed a lot of easy shots and we turned it over too much. We were acting like we were better than we were.”
Aguilar, no relation to the Aguilar brothers of Danny and Diego, was on a whole nother level. He was the driving factor offensively with 30 points, and his 13 fourth-quarter points kept Jefferson afloat when things truly got hairy.
“I’m glad because my shot hasn’t been falling lately. I’m just glad we got the win more than anything,” Jace Aguilar said. “(This win) is huge to keep our record going, but we definitely got a lot more to work on.”
Following Crowell’s tying three, Aguilar hit a three-pointer in response. Split a pair of free throws, answering the last desperation shots by Central Linn to hang on for the win. Reling on a last second prevent defensive stop and miss to hang on for the 64-63 win.
Danny Aguilar dropped to his knees on the court as the Senior let out a sigh of relief knowing they came out of this game victorious. Turning their focus now to Oakland on Tuesday.
“We just got to brush it off our shoulder. New game, fresh start. It’s been a long week for us because we’re missing a starter, hopefully we get him back next week. Next week is going to be a long one, but Oakland is coming to the Lions Den and we’re looking forward to it,” Danny Aguilar said.
Aaron Crowell finished with 26 points for the Cobras Thursday night.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald