Thomas Jefferson can't solve General McLane
EDINBORO — Thomas Jefferson had valid concerns about how it would handle the inside game of General McLane and rightfully so.
Not only did the Lancers feature a 6-foot-5 center in Quinn Thompson that already committed to play football at Connecticut, they have a 6-5 bookend in junior Brett Kulka to help further clog up the paint.
But as the Jaguars painfully discovered, General McLane is a lot more than just a pair of wide bodies in the low post as senior guard Jaymon Mason scored a game-high 32 points to help the District 10 champion Lancers to a 67-42 victory over Thomas Jefferson in a PIAA Class AAA first-round game at McComb Field House.
“We knew how good they were when we watched film, and they reminded me of Montour but with not as good of shooters,” Thomas Jefferson coach Dom DeCicco said. “When I looked at our lineup and theirs, I knew we had to shoot the ball extremely well, and we didn't shoot the ball very well.”
General McLane held Thomas Jefferson without a player in double figures, and the Jaguars leading scorer coming in, Joe Carroll, picked up his fourth personal foul just 54 seconds into the second half. Despite that, the Jaguars were only down, 45-36, with 1:49 remaining in the third quarter.
“I thought our kids really played hard and stayed in the game but ... right there, Joey's got to hit a three,” DeCicco said. “Our guys have got to make a big play, and they couldn't make one big play.”
Thomas Jefferson had huge problems containing General McLane's players and were called for an inordinate number of fouls. Because of that, the Lancers took 33 free throws to the Jaguars nine and made 25.
Mason was on top of his game from the charity stripe as the 87-percent free throw shooter hit 14 of 17.
“One of the things is that when you have a lead, we tried to get the ball in Jaymon's hands, and when we had the lead in the third quarter, we were able to dictate what we wanted to do in the second half,” said General McLane coach Andy Schulz, who picked up his 599th career win.
“I think all the kids did great. It was a great team effort coming off the District 10 (finals), and we were trying to avoid the hangover, and we advanced.”
Mason also was the reason why Carroll, who came in averaging 16.2 points per game, was limited to just four. Eric Fairman came off the bench and led Thomas Jefferson with nine.
“Mason, people know he's a good ball handler and a good scorer, but he's a fabulous defensive player,” Schulz said. “He takes it on himself usually to guard the best player, and Carroll is an excellent player, and Jaymon did an excellent job on him.”
Thomas Jefferson found itself up against it almost immediately as Kulka opened the game with a three-point play that was the start of a 9-2 first-quarter run.
As the game wore on, Thompson got rolling as he chipped in 13 points and 10 rebounds.
“We tried to get the ball inside, and I don't know how effective we were,” Schulz said. “It was just a feeling-out process in the first half, but Jaymon got the ball in his hands, and I think we were able to create a little more.”