JEFFERSONVILLE – When scheduling his team’s games for this particular weekend, Jeffersonville head coach Mike Warren wanted to set up a situation to see how his Red Devils would handle adversity.
The weekend started with a trip to the eastside of Indianapolis to face Warren Central on Friday night. The result did not turn out so good, as the Red Devils lost to the host Warriors 42-39.
After a two-hour bus trip back to Jeff late Friday night, Jeff had a 1:30 p.m. home matchup with Jasper on Saturday at Johnson Arena.
The result was much, much better than the night before.
The Red Devils jumped out to a 27-4 lead after one quarter and rolled to a 57-31 victory over the Wildcats (9-9). The key Jeff player in that period was senior guard Jhala Henry, who scored 14 of her game-high 18 points in the first.
“We did this for the purpose of creating some adversity and see how we reacted to some adversity. Would we have liked to have gone 2-0? Yes, but we were 1-1,” Warren said. “Obviously, we were disappointed in losing (Friday) night. I thought we were the better team. We just didn’t play like it (Friday) night. (The Red Devils) had a lot of reasons to let down today and let Jasper hang around.
“It started and ended with Jhala. Once (her teammates) saw what she was doing in that first quarter, those kids had no choice but to follow.”
Warren hopes Saturday’s victory gives Jeff some momentum heading into this week where it plays two crucial Hoosier Hills Conference games. The Red Devils (12-7, 5-0 HHC) can clinch a share of the conference title with a win at defending league champion Seymour (14-5, 3-1) on Tuesday night. If Jeff downs the Owls, it can capture the outright HHC championship Friday night at home versus archrival New Albany (12-5, 3-1). The Red Devils’ last conference title happened in 2011 when they won it outright and proceeded to claim the Class 4A state championship.
“We have a chance to win the conference with an undefeated record,” Warren said. “We’re not going to hide anything. We’re going to play to win.”
Jeff junior guard Jacinta Gibson scored 12 points. Freshman guard Brooke Nottingham led Jasper with seven points.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Henry – The Red Devils’ leader shot 7-of-10 from the field and 3-of-4 from 3-point range. In the opening quarter, Henry connected on five of her six field-goal attempts and made all three of her 3’s. Warren also lauded her defensive effort.
“She was phenomenal in the first quarter. She’s our heart and soul and she’s the leader of this team,” Warren said. “She just wreaked havoc on those girls and her defensive intensity got us some easy shots. It kind of got her in the flow and she was able to knock down some 3’s.”
KEY SEQUENCE: With Jeff holding an early 4-3 lead, it closed out the first stanza with a 23-1 run. Henry scored 12 points during that spurt, which included her three 3-pointers and a three-point play with 37.8 seconds left in the quarter.
UNSUNG HERO: Chelsea Gibson, Jeff – The 6-1 sophomore forward displayed her potential with 10 points, shooting 4-of-7 from the floor and 2-of-2 at the free-throw line. The younger Gibson came out ready to play like Henry in the first quarter, scoring eight points.
“She has the tools. We’re just asking for more consistency from her,” Warren said. “We need her to start well and finish well.”
WHAT JEFF DID WELL: Once again, the Red Devils showed they have one of the best defenses in Indiana.
It was the 11th time this season Jeff has held an opponent under 40 points. The Red Devils rank second in Class 4A and 32nd in Indiana in points allowed per game (37.4). The Wildcats shot 33.3 percent from the field (10-for-30) and committed 23 turnovers. For most of the game, Jeff used a full-court press and a half-court trapping defense to frustrate Jasper.
“Through three quarters, our defense was outstanding. I was real happy with our (help-side defense),” Warren said. “Our on-ball defense, our traps and our press have been as good as it’s been lately. But more so, we were helping each other.”
AREA OF CONCERN FOR JEFF: If there was one thing to worry about, it was the Red Devils’ shooting percentage dropping off after the first quarter.
In the opening stanza, Jeff nailed 10-of-14 field goals (71.4 percent). But after that, the Devils connected on only 12-of-36 shots (33.3 percent) as they ended up 22-of-50 for the game (44 percent).
JEFF’S NEXT GAME: At Seymour, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.
JEFFERSONVILLE 57, JASPER 31
Jasper 4 10 2 15-31
Jeff 27 8 14 8-57
Jasper (9-9): Brooke Nottingham 7, Madisyn Hunt 6, Kathryn Wigand 6, Claire Knies 5, Riley Merder 5, Brooklynn Pierce 2, Anna Charron 0, Maria Gobert 0, Summer Herzog 0, Emily Kuhlman 0, Lindsey Leinenbach 0, Kortney Ruhe 0.
Jeff (12-7): Jhala Henry 18, Jacinta Gibson 12, Chelsea Gibson 10, Nan Garcia 6, Britney Epperson 3, Jaylynn Brown 2, Tori Handley 2, Kelsie James 2, Jaelyn Lee 2, Jasmine Lilly 0, Makiyah Owens 0, Kiersten Poor 0.
3-point field goals: Jasper 5 (Nottingham 2, Wigand 2, Hunt 1); Jeff 5 (Henry 3, J. Gibson 2).
Rebounds: Jasper 24 (Knies 6); Jeff 30 (Epperson 7).
Free throws: Jasper 6-10, Jeff 8-12.
Turnovers: Jasper 23, Jeff 13.
Total fouls: Jasper 14, Jeff 14.Fouled out: none.