By Mark Kitchin
JEFFERSON TWP. — When a game isn’t going well sometimes players have to dig deep. The Jefferson boys basketball team is fortunate that it has plenty of depth to help with its digging.
A strong fourth-quarter effort and some quality help off the bench sparked Jefferson to a 63-48 triumph over Newton on Wednesday. The win lifts Jefferson to 8-0 on the season. The Falcons are the only unbeaten team left in Morris County.
Senior forward Tyler Jones scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds senior guard Chris Telman added 13 to lift Jefferson. Senior guard JR Reese added four points and 10 rebounds for the Falcons.
Steven Kelly, Jalil Tajidden, Frankie Rios and Charlie Grotyohann scored nine points apiece for Newton (4-4).
Jefferson’s Chris Telman cuts through two Newton defenders to take a shot during first half action. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)
Jefferson came away with the victory in just its second home game of the year but the Falcons were not playing their best ball. With some key players dealing with sickness and others (Jones, Reese and Ryan Langan) in foul trouble in the second and third quarters it led to some uneven play. Reserves Joe Rossi and Dakota Nobile came off the bench and gave the Falcons good solid minutes and kept the Braves from getting ahead in the contest.
“They were a big factor in today’s game,” Jones said. “They are good, especially in practice. They are just as talented if not better than the teams we play against. We always have good players coming off the bench.”
It’s easily to see why the Falcons have been successful so far. Jefferson is a senior group with experience and athleticism. Vincent Ginefra’s size and Reese’s instincts and toughness allow the Falcons to clean up around the basket. The 6-foot-4 Jones has great shooting range but with his leaping ability he is also a shot blocking threat. Guards Telman and Langan are fearless when driving to the basket. Telman in particular is a real pest on the defensive end, too. They are all unselfish.
“We knew we were going to be good,” Jones said. “We didn’t know that we were going to be this good. We’re just confident and we are just keeping it one game at a time.”
Reese has seen all along that the Falcons have all the right pieces in place and can succeed as long as they work together.
“With the teammates we’ve got and the chemistry we’ve got, we execute our plays at all times,” Reese said. “It’s not hard.”
Joe Rossi, left, and Dakota Nobile played huge coming off the bench on Wednesday. Here they double-team Newton guard Frankie Rios. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)
On Wednesday, Jefferson led 30-22 at the half and looked ready at times to put away their opponents. However, some Jefferson players were saddled with foul trouble and Newton knew how to take advantage of it. The Braves have a fine balance with Kelly’s inside play and the perimeter firepower of Rios and Grotyohann. The duo was especially dangerous in the third quarter.
“We had to protect the paint and watch for the outside shots,” Jones said. “We knew they had strong guards who could shoot from outside the arc. We tried to keep an even balance play both sides of the ball real well and do what we were supposed to do.”
It made Rossi’s performance important. He defended and battled Kelly and grabbed his share of boards when others were forced to sit. He also put in some points on putbacks.
“He is so long and anticipates the ball so well,” Jefferson coach Joe DiGennaro said. “He always gets his hands on loose balls. He always gets deflections. He’s turning into a fan favorite.”
Nobile also stood out. He scored five points and although he’s not a seasoned player, he gives his team an extra dimension with his athleticism and jumping ability.
“He didn’t play last year,” DiGennaro said. “He wanted to come out and be part of something.”
Jefferson’s Joe Rossi is fouled on the shot attempt by Newton’s Samir Wheeler. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)
Newton rallied late in the quarter from long distance. Grotyohann and Rios combined for four 3-pointers. When Grotyohann rattled in a 3-pointer with 50 seconds in the third quarter it tied the game at 41. The score held going into the final period but the Braves never took the lead.
Jefferson brought back some of its starters and took back control. A Nobile 3-pointer triggered a 9-0 run to start the fourth quarter.
Jefferson maintained a double-digit advantage or close to it the rest of the way. Jones, who was dealing with an illness, also stepped up and scored eight of the teams 22 fourth-quarter points.
“We just started playing better,” Reese said. “We started executing our plays and playing better defense.”
On the surface it might look like just another victory but closing out a win against a quality opponent on an off night showed that it might not be an ordinary season for the Falcons.
“We have kids that can play,” DiGennaro said. “We have kids that are athletes.”
Tyler Jones scored 17 points to lift the Falcons to another win. Jefferson is 8-0 on the season. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)
Mendham 55, Roxbury 31
A 20-7 third-quarter run propelled the Minutemen (8-2). Alex Jacobs had 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Brian Kenez added 11 points. The Gaels drop to 2-6.
Kinnelon 64, Sussex Tech 29
The Colts improve to 5-4. Jaison Buchanan scored 27 points and John Hamill added 10 points and nine rebounds.
West Morris 62, Chatham 58
The Wolfpack (6-4) are on a two-game roll. West Morris pulled away with a 19-15 fourth-quarter effort The win ended a 5-game Chatham winning streak.
Hanover Park 51, Morristown-Beard 43
The Hornets improve to 6-2. Nick Burbella had 12 points and Max Reynolds and Emmet Simmons had 11 points apiece for Hanover Park (6-2). Stephen Sangree had 15 for the Crimson (6-3).
Morris Catholic 58, Mountain Lakes 42
The Crusaders led 31-18 at half. Amir Allen had 15 points and 13 rebounds for Morris Catholic (6-3). The Lakers drop to 5-3.
Morristown 72, Randolph 59
The Colonials took control early with an 18-4 first-quarter spurt. The Rams rallied to cut the deficit to 37-32 at half but couldn’t keep up the momentum. Senior Seah Hoehn led all scorers with 29 points for Morristown (7-1). Randolph drops to 3-8 despite Mike Talbert’s 28 points.
Boonton 60, Pequannock 52, 2 OT
The win lifts the Bombers to 3-7. Sammy Asani scored 29 points including a 3-pointer that forced the overtime. The Bombers outscored the Golden Panthers 12-4 in the second overtime period. Pequannock falls to 4-3.
Delbarton 49, Parsippany Hills 45
The Green Wave led 26-21 at the half and held off a late rally. Robby Price scored 14 points and Seamus Crough had 11 for Delbarton (3-6).
Dover 50, Parsippany 39
The Tigers outscored the Red Hawks 25-17 in the second half. Rondal Arnold and Ryan Charyshyn scored 14 points apiece for Dover.
Mount Olive 89, Morris Hills 58
The Marauders are on a 7-game roll. Mount Olive led 54-37 at the half. Senior guard Rashaan Spencer scored 29 points and Jason Drury added 14 for the Marauders (7-1). Morris HIlls drops to 2-7.
Montville 55, Morris Knolls 44
The Mustangs led 23-19 at the half and built its advantage to double digits. Montville improves to 6-3, Morris Knolls drops to 5-4. Erik Werheim had 20 points and 14 rebounds. Jacob Kaplan scored 14 points and Jesse Warech had 13 for Montville. Ryan Bornemann had 14 for the Golden Eagles.