Thomas Jefferson holds on despite 30 points from EF's Davidson
Elizabeth Forward junior JaQuan Davidson nearly pulled a stunning upset against Thomas Jefferson during football season before his Warriors finally fell to the Jaguars.
The sport was different Friday, but everything else was the same.
Davidson played a magnificent game against TJ, but his 30 points weren't enough as the Jaguars pulled away for a 73-62 win.
“I was scared to death every time he touched the ball,” TJ coach Dom DeCicco said. “We tried fronting him with three different guys. We threw all kinds of different looks at him. At some point, you just realized that he was just that good.”
Davidson and EF, however, made a couple of crucial mistakes. TJ, meanwhile, is a team that rarely makes mistakes.
“Difference in the game,” EF coach Gerald “Puddin'” Grayson said. “We don't know how to close yet. We're still learning. We made a couple of mistakes, and TJ doesn't make mistakes. They're too good for that. They'll make you pay.”
Though Davidson was clearly the game's best player, he missed five of his six foul shots. He also made an ill-advised drive late in the contest that prevented him from giving his team a chance to steal a victory.
With 2:11 remaining and Davidson playing with four fouls, he drove toward the TJ basket and was called for the charging foul that eliminated him from the game.
“I have to admit,” DeCicco said, “that I breathed a sign of relief after he was gone.”
Still, TJ certainly should not feel like it stole a victory because Davidson fouled out.
Rather, the Jaguars were the best team on this evening. They led by as many as 13 points in the second half and never trailed. EF pulled within two points on three occasions in the second half only to see DeCicco's team pull away each time.
“That's one thing I love about this team,” DeCicco said. “We have a poise about us.”
While EF relied heavily on Davidson, TJ's effort was balanced throughout the evening.
Junior Center Chase Winovich — “He was a bull in a china shop,” DeCicco said — led the Jaguars with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Joe Carroll (17 points), Jason Horan (12 points) and Zach Schademan (11 points) all scored in double figures for TJ.
Guard Ben Miscavage, however, produced the game's signature moment.
Late in the first quarter, TJ was holding the ball for the final shot when a turnover eventually led to Davidson's bucket.
Miscavage received the inbound pass and, right in front of DeCicco, launched a shot from 75 feet.
The ball swished through the basket right in the faces of the EF student section, a perfect illustration of TJ's seemingly unending dominance of its biggest rival.
“Unbelievable moment,” DeCicco said.
Aside from the buzzer-beater, DeCicco was thrilled with the guard. Miscavage scored nine points and was particularly patient all evening, helping TJ secure a number of easy scores down the stretch.
“He's our most talented basketball player, and he's the most important player on our team,” DeCicco said.
Meanwhile, the most talented player on the court will have to wait again for that first career win against Thomas Jefferson in any sport.
“We lost to a good team tonight, but I saw good things,” Grayson said. “This is a young team I've got, but the talent is there. We're going to get better.”
Josh Yohe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.