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Thomas Jefferson girls pull away from Sheldon for homecoming win

Jan. 12—Thomas Jefferson led 29-21 on Friday night as its game against Sheldon entered the fourth quarter inside Thomas Jefferson Fieldhouse on the campus of Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School.

The Cavaliers (7-5) held the Panthers (4-8) to just 4 fourth-quarter points and pulled away for a 39-25 victory.

"It was very key," TJ head coach Lindsey Showalter said. "In the first quarter, we came out very strong and then got very, very stagnant. The second quarter was a very weak quarter, and we let them back into the ballgame. We kind of got lazy on the defensive side, and our intensity dropped."

TJ jumped out to an 11-2 lead by the end of the first quarter thanks to three 3-pointers — two from Sarah Mueller and one from Gabbi Hiebert.

A quick response from Sheldon in the second quarter made it a tight 22-16 score heading into halftime. Ten points in the period from Mariam Lamb boosted the Panthers back into the contest.

Lannah Grigg registered 11 of her 15 points in the second half to help carry the Cavaliers to a win. The team scored 17 total in the second half.

"I told the girls that the third quarter would probably be the most important quarter of the game," Showalter said. "We had a decent third quarter, but our fourth quarter was really strong. We got out in transition, and that's when we're really effective."

Grigg's 15 points led the Cavaliers, while Mueller's 10 were the next-highest number.

The Panthers were led by Lamb's 13 points.

"(Grigg's) an unstoppable force once we get the ball inside to her," Showalter said. "Even if she's not scoring, the defense has to collapse on her, and that creates opportunities for my shooters on the outside. She's very vital to our offense, and on the defensive side, she's a big body down low."

Thomas Jefferson enjoyed a win on homecoming night by limiting Sheldon to just 11 points outside of the 14-point second quarter by the Panthers. Homecoming festivities were held at halftime.

"It's huge. They were all pumped for the game," Showalter said. "It's special. Especially with all the fans. This is the most fans we've had all season."

There wasn't much room to sit on the east side of the gymnasium behind the team's benches all night.

Thomas Jefferson has won back-to-back games to move back above .500 after a four-game losing skid. The Cavaliers are back in action on Monday against Galena, Kansas, in the Tony Dubray Classic in Liberal. The game starts at 5:35 p.m.

"We want to keep that streak," Showalter said. "We have a lot of goals and expectations for the season. Conference and district champs are definitely our goals, and they're very attainable, but we have to keep working and getting better each and every day."