By Mark Kitchin
DENVILLE – “Pardon me.’’
“Oh, no I’ll go after you.’’
“I insist you were there first, it’s your turn.’’
“No, no, no. I wouldn’t hear of it.’’
You don’t exactly hear those conversations when the Jefferson boys basketball team has the ball, but you wonder if the Falcons are a little too unselfish on the court.
Senior guard Drew Hall scored 21 points and Jon Kristofferson chipped in with 13 in Jefferson’s 59-45 victory over Parsippany Hills during Tuesday’s action at the Morris Knolls Holiday Tournament.
Connor Clarke paced Parsippany Hills with 12 points. Jefferson will play host Morris Knolls in today’s title game. The Vikings will play Warren Hillsin a consolation contest.
Jefferson’s Evan Rapp dribbles past Parsippany Hills’ Joe Han in Tuesday’s holiday tournament contest.
The Falcons have a lot going for them as a team. They are experienced, have tremendous depth, don’t get rattled easily and seem comfortable playing together. Those are traits some coaches pray for their teams to have.
Jefferson coach Joe DiGennaro likes his team. He just wants some of his players to get a little bit greedy. It happens on occasion but there are times when he would like to see more of it.
“They are gentlemen and that could be a big problem,’’ DiGennaro said. “A lot of times they are unselfish and we’re looking for someone to say, ‘I’m going to take over and make plays’.’’
The Falcons are better than last year’s group which finished 7-15. They seemed to have developed more chemistry on the court, too. The team has 10 seniors and most of them are level-headed and play in a smart, poised manner.
Parsippany Hills’ Mike DiEduardo tries to dribble between two Jefferson defenders during Tuesday’s contest.
“We’ve matured a little bit more,’’Jefferson guard Evan Rapp said. “We’re into our senior years. We got stronger. We got bigger. We’re looking to play with more intensity.’’
Hall, who saw extensive varsity time from his freshman year on, agreed with that assessment.
“We’ve been playing together since we were in fourth grade,’’ Hall said. “The chemistry has always been there. Now that were all seniors it’s our time, so you see it more on the court now.’’
Jefferson’s situation is unusual. Two years ago the Falcons had a perfect complementary crew for offensive-minded guard Gavin McCarney. Last year the Falcons were looking for another leader to take charge. No one really did but that might be expected from a junior-laden squad.
One leader may emerge this year, but considering past tendencies perhaps this is the type of team that can succeed with a hero by committee.
“Ends of games are very difficult for us when it comes to who is going to shoot the ball,’’ DiGennaro said. “Any given night whoever has the hot hand is the guy we have to go with. We’re begging for leaders and hopefully the kids will step up.”
Jefferson’s Jon Kristofferson tries to get off a shot past Parsippany Hills’ Connor Clarke during holiday tournament basketball action.
Jefferson didn’t need any last-second heroics on Tuesday. It led throughout. The Falcons built a 16-9 first-quarter advantage. Hall scored eight of those points. The Jefferson guard has the experience needed to take control of a game.
“Hall has that ability and does that at times,’’ DiGennaro said. “But other times he disappears.’’
Kristofferson is another player who can go on a run when his shot is falling. He scored seven points in the third quarter to help Jefferson to an 18-10 third-quarter effort. The Falcons held a 44-31 advantage going into the final period.
“He had a fantastic summer for us,’’ DiGennaro said. “He had not stepped up until today. He’s a very athletic kid and he did some really good things for us,’’
The Jefferson players seem to have their roles down and a 3-1 start is definitely something to build on. Perhaps, this group of Falcons can find a way to organize its flock so its players know when to step up and when to let others take charge.
“We have a lot of balance,’’ DiGennaro said. “We scored 68 points one night and we didn’t have anybody in double digits. That’s the type of team were going to throw at you.’’