JEFFERSON, Ohio (WYTV) – Last night Jefferson’s unbeaten streak ended at 19 games when Lake Catholic knocked off the Falcons, 74-60. The Cougars, who made 8 three-point shots, were led by Justin Robinson’s game-high 36 points. Jefferson was forced into 12 turnovers. Sam Hitchcock paced the Falcons with his team-high 20 points.
Even though this loss stings, the team and their coach have had a big picture approach since the year began. “While everyone, myself included would’ve loved to (have) finish(ed) the season with an unbeaten record,” says Jefferson’s coach Steve French. “We know that the ultimate prize for us is winning a district championship. That would trump any regular season success we have had. That has, and will continue to be our number one goal.”
Selection Sunday is in four days. The Division II Ashtabula District will be a highly contested bracket which features the likes of Chagrin Falls, Perry, Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin and Lake Catholic. “All four of those programs are well coaches and would provide tough games in our district”, points out French.
Jefferson became one of only four teams to have successfully gone through league play undefeated in the All-American Conference by posting a perfect 10-0 mark. The Falcons join LaBrae (2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13), Struthers (2009-10, 2010-11) and Campbell (2009-10) as the fourth program to accomplish such a feat. “(That) was very important to our players, coaches and (the) community”, said Coach French. “We are very happy to be in the AAC and enjoy the elevated competition level we’ve experienced. Our seniors are especially excited about our (league) title. It’s the first for Jefferson since the 2003-04 season. In terms of our overall program, we hope that winning the AAC will become something that is expected, not a once in a decade feat.”
Coach French says, “The key to having such a successful season is that the kids have worked very hard and have been coachable. For the most part, this is a self-motivated group that really wanted success. They’ve committed themselves in the summer, in the weight room, and in practice to being the best they could be.”
At 19-1, the Falcons will look to end the regular season on a high note when Jefferson plays at Liberty (on February 17) and finish at home (on February 24) against Conneaut.