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Warriors take command early, put Falcons away late

Feb. 3—JEFFERSON — In rivalry games, a strong start can be just as important as a strong finish.

The Edgewood basketball team exemplified that Friday nigh, defeating Jefferson 70-59 in a Chagrin Valley Conference Lake Division boys basketball matchup at Jefferson High School.

Playing in front of a packed Falcon Gymnasium, the Warriors opened their rematch against the Falcons by greeting the hosts with a 12-2 run to start the game and would never trail.

In the second half, Jefferson cut the deficit from as much as 15 points down to five, butt Edgewood dominate the fourth quarter to preserve the win and keep its CVC Lake Division chances alive.

"Our game plan all week was to get up early," Warriors center Mason Thorr said. "We wanted to get our crowd into it and get the motivation early."

Thorr tapped the opening tip to Jacob Ernst, who went to the hoop for the first points of the contest. That set a precedent of what was to come.

Ernst scored eleven of the first 11 of Edgewood's first 12 points on his way to a team-high 25 points.

The Warriors took command early which, was exactly what their coach said they needed to do.

"We really don't play well coming-from-behind," coach John Bowler said. "We knew they were going to make a run. All good teams do and they have a lot of good players that played well tonight. We sustained our lead, and everything went in our favor tonight."

The Warriors usually go as Ernst and Logan Kray go.

The seniors both had strong performances again, but there was plenty of help from the supporting cast.

Thorr had 13 points to go with nine rebounds. Brady Anderjack had 12 pointgs on four 3-pointers and Peyton Williams also knocked down a pair of threes.

"All the teams we play are gearing for Logan and Jacob," Thorr said. "We just have to step up and play our roles."

Bowler is appreciative of the supporting cast.

"They're big for us," he said. "We're not just a two-man team. The other guys can contribute, they did tonight and they will all season. The more they do, the better we're going to be."

After falling behind early, Jefferson fought back to within 15-10, but then trailed by as many as 15 in the second quarter and were down 33-21 at halftime.

Falcons coach Rob Pisano said the opposition was better prepared for the moment than his team.

"They were ready to play, we weren't," he said. "I don't know if it was the emotion of the game, if our guys don't handle the emotion as well as they do. But I have a feeling we burnt a lot of energy just in warmups. They just outplayed us, they made shots and we didn't."

The Falcons git it going in the second half though, outscoring Edgewood 21-14 to cut the lead down to 50-45.

In the fourth quarter, though, the Warriors surged ahead for good.

Ernst and Kray opened the final eight minutes with back-to-back 3-pointers to kickstart a 13-2 run, giving them a commanding 63-47 advantage with 4:09 to play in the game.

Bowler said the work his team has been putting in all season showed up at the most opportune time.

"We're getting better," he said. "We're playing better, we're understanding the game better and the kids are working really hard in practice. The more games we play, the better we're gonna be. You can see in the games how hard we've been practicing because it's showing."

Anthony Covetta paced the Falcons with 25 points and Joey DeGeorge added 21, But the Falcons could not get anyone else untracked in scoring.

Pisano said Jefferson's maturity showed up in a big way.

"They got experience," the coach said. "They have Jacob and Logan and Brady, those guys have played a lot of basketball together."

The energy Jefferson had to use to get back in the game may have been a factor in the fourth as well.

"It expends energy to come back," Pisano said. "But, the biggest thing was we didn't make shots. We were playing from behind all night. They outplayed us in every aspect of the game."

The win moved Edgewood to 13-4, 8-4 in the conference with three straight wins.

They remain two games behind Geneva, which defeated Lakeside. The Warriors will be at Madison Tuesday.

Jefferson fell to 7-8 overall, 5-5 in CVC play. They will be at Harvey on Tuesday.