Jan. 31—MADISON — From the second the Madison bus pulled into Jefferson High School, Dylan Beebe and the Falcons defense had JP Dragas marked.
The Falcons shut down the Blue Streaks leading scorer and received a season-high 19 point from Beebe in a 56-36 Chagrin Valley Conference Lake Division boys basketball win.
Joe DeGeorge and Anthony Covetta also scored in double figures for Jefferson.
"We've been prepping all week for him," Beebe said of drawing the assignment against Madison's all-time leading scorer. "He's a great player and it was fun guarding him."
DeGeorge, who had 17 points, added, "Everything came together tonight. We locked in defensively, held them to 16 points in the second half. Dylan has been working his butt off all year, he's our guy on defense."
Covetta added 13 points.
With Beebe hounding his every move, Dragas, who is nearing the 2,000-point mark in career scoring, was held to just two field goals and eight points in the game.
The win avenged a 57-56 loss at Madison on Jan. 5, In that game, Dragas scored 20 points.
"I think we held
him [Dragas] to nine until the final four minutes." Falcons coach Rob Pisano said of the first meeting with Madison. "Then, he went off on like a 12-point spurt."
The coach said the key to slowing down the Blue Streaks star is keeping him in the half court and the Falcons were able to do that.
"If you can keep him out of transition, keep him off the foul line, you have a shot,' Pisano said. "That's the key to how to play him, just keep him in the half court game, double him when he touches it. Beebe has a lot of energy, we ran him at him all night trying to tire him out."
Aside from his defense, Beebe also gave his team a huge boost with his outside shooting, connecting on three shots from beyond the 3-point arc.
"The difference tonight was we had a third scorer," Pisano said. "If we could have had a third scorer all year, I think our record would be a lot different."
The Falcons had a 25-20 lead at the half, then broke off on an 8-0 run in the third quarter to take a 42-34 advantage into the final eight minutes.
From there, it was all about the Jefferson defense.
The Falcons didn't allow a Madison field goal for the entire fourth quarter.
"They did everything they needed to do to win the game," Blue Streaks coach Nick Gustin said. "They took everything that we worked on the last couple of days and took us right out of it and we did not respond very well. In our conference, if you don't respond, you're going to lose every time."
The defense against Dragas was something the Blue Streaks had seen before.
"It's nothing different that we haven't seen the last month," Gustin said. "The other guys on the team have to make some shots, they have to create.
"We did a pretty good job of that in the first half, in the second we couldn't capitalize on the opportunities when we had them. When you go 0 for 12 in the fourth quarter, you're not going to beat anybody."
The win moved Jefferson to 5-4 in the conference, while Madison slipped to 6-3.
With Edgwood's win over Perry, the Falcons are now tied in the loss column with the Warriors, one game behind Madison and two back of Geneva for the Lake Division crown.
"It's gonna be a dogfight down the stretch," Pisanno said. "We play everyone in front of us. That's the nice thing. Ours is just taking care of business, if we can get to 10-4, that could win the league."
Both teams are scheduled to play at home on Friday night.
Jefferson battles Edgewood, while Madison goes against Conneaut.