It only took about a six-minute stretch of the second quarter for Tri-Center to separate itself from Thomas Jefferson for the rest of the night.
The Trojans used a 10-0 run to erase a two-point deficit and was never threatened again in a 58-46 win over the Yellow Jackets at the Thomas Jefferson Activity Center.
Leyton Nelson scored 21 points to lead Tri-Center while Thomas Turner, Ethan Alfers and Trenton Kozeal added nine each.
Jefferson’s Q Owens led all players with 25 points.
Tri-Center coach Chad Harder said the Jackets gave his team a battle in spite of Jefferson’s 3-15 record this season.
“T.J.’s a nice team. Their record, it fools people because they play in a tough conference. Our guys really played tough tonight,” Harder said.
“Even when shots weren’t falling, I thought our defense really carried us tonight.”
The Trojans, who improved to 16-3, shot 46.3% (19 of 41) from the field while Jefferson made 16 of 36 (44.4%).
Outside of the second-quarter run, Tri-Center only outscored the Yellow Jackets by two points for the rest of the game.
T.J. coach Nate Kreifels said he had a different sense about how the game was progressing outside of the Trojans’ second-quarter surge.
“It didn’t feel even. Whether it was that 10-0 stretch or whatever, they just outplayed us,” Kreifels said. “We didn’t make enough shots, nor did I feel like we got enough stops. It seemed like we were taking the ball out of the net too many times.”
Jefferson hit its first four shots of the game, including 3-pointers by Noah Weinfurtner, Owens and Amer Ibar to lead 11-10 early.
A trey by Nelson gave the Trojans a 13-11 lead after the first quarter.
The Yellow Jackets led 17-15 in the second quarter before the Trojans went on their 10-0 run to go up 25-17 with 1:38 remaining in the first half.
Harder said scoring points in bunches is a focus for his team each game.
“We talk to our guys a lot about we’ve got to have big runs and limit them to small ones. So our goal is to have those 10- to 14-point runs and then have them to six or below,” Harder said.
“We’ve got some first-year guys, and they’re starting to taste that when you make that run, we’ve got to finish that run.”
Tri-Center took a 29-21 advantage to halftime, shooting 54.1% (13 of 24) while Jefferson was 8 of 16 (50%) from the floor.
Owens led the Jackets with 11 first-half points while Nelson paced the Trojans with nine.
Tri-Center had a 12-11 advantage in the third quarter to take a 41-32 lead to the fourth.
Nelson scored the first four points of the last period as the Trojan advantage swelled to its largest of the game at 45-32.
Tri-Center (16-3) 13 16 12 17—58
Thomas Jefferson (3-15) 11 10 11 14—46
TC: Thomas Turner 9, Mason Rohatsch 6, Ethan Alfers 9, Leyton Nelson 21, Trenton Kozeal 9, Zachary Elliott 4.
TJ: Reese Schlotfeld 6, Wimach Gilo 4, Austin Schubert 2, Q Owens 25, Amer Ibar 3, Noah Weinfurtner 6.
T.J. girls 60, Tri-Center 19
Hannah Belt and Allisa Schubert each scored 14 points and Allison Schubert added 13 to lead Thomas Jefferson to a 60-19 win over Tri-Center at the Thomas Jefferson Activity Center.
The Yellow Jackets led 8-7 after the first quarter before outscoring the Trojans 17-1 in the second for a 25-8 halftime advantage.
Allisa Schubert led T.J. with 10 first-half points.
Jefferson had a 16-2 scoring advantage to take a 41-10 lead to the fourth quarter.
“We started slow, but our defense sparked some nice play in the final three quarters,” T.J. coach Devin Schoening said. “I was proud of our girls for bouncing back from a tough night on Tuesday. We continue to look for consistency.”
The Jackets improved to 7-13 while Tri-Center fell to 3-16.
Tri-Center (3-16) 7 1 2 9—19
Thomas Jefferson (7-13) 8 17 16 19—60
TC: Presley Pogge 3, Molly Carlson 5, Emile Sorenson 2, Kaeli Harris 3, Madison Ausdemore 6.
TJ: Hannah Belt 14, Regan Gant 3, Jasmine Ramos 5, Allisa Schubert 14, Allison Schubert 13, Samara Alcaraz 2, Sydney Hosick 3, Lexi Smith 6.