In high-energy sports like basketball, you can compete for only so long on adrenaline alone.
In their first game without their star player Friday night at home, the Jefferson girls played their hearts out in the first half against Xavier.
Then they simply ran out of gas.
Ahead for the opening 12 minutes, the short-handed J-Hawks trailed just 18-15 at the hallway point. But as they sagged from then on, the surging Saints picked up steam and won going away, 50-22.
Jefferson (5-4, 4-2 MVC) managed only five points from center Kennedy Dighton and two from point guard Avery Guy in the second 16 minutes.
They desperately needed 6-foot-2 all-stater Amanda Ollinger, who left the team two days ago and will transfer to Linn-Mar.
“I thought the girls played great during that first half,” said even-tempered Jefferson Coach Jason Edwards. “We were moving the ball, and we knocked down some shots.”
But with just six girls (all juniors and sophomores) facing the relentless pressure of Xavier’s patented pressing defense, they could not sustain the momentum.
Longtime Xavier Coach Tom Lilly said his squad knew what to expect coming into the contest.
“Jefferson came out with a lot of energy and enthusiasm,” he noted. “Missing their best player, they wanted to tell the world.‘Hey, we don’t need her.’