Trojans shoot down Eagles once again
JEFFERSON —?In the 10 years Jay Benish has coached the Jefferson High School basketball team there is one thing he and his teams have always known about East Troy — they can shoot.
The visiting Trojans buried eight 3-point baskets en route to a 66-52 Rock Valley Conference win at PremierBank Gymnasium Thursday night.
“We knew coming in they were going to be a good-shooting team, and they certainly knocked their shots down when they were open; we tried to take advantage of the times when they did miss and limit them to one shot,” Benish said. “We did an okay job of that, we didn’t give up a lot of second chances.”
Jefferson (6-11 overall, 5-6 RVC) used the ball itself to nearly erase a 13-point deficit, pulling within four points midway through the second half.
Three-pointers by Zack Peterson and Ian McGowan cut the deficit to six early on, before a personal 5-0 run by Evan Anfang, capped off by a 3-pointer from the corner, brought the Eagles within 45-41 with 9:33 remaining.
But in a matter of 2 1/2 minutes that four-point deficit reached nine as Jefferson’s hopes faded. Freshman A.J. Vukovich started a 5-0 Trojan run with his fourth 3-pointer of the night, and finished with a game-high 25.
“You get it close and then if you can get that one stop, you continue to hang around and give yourself a chance,” said Benish. “Unfortunately, they have a wide variety of guys that can shoot it — if you crack with one guy on defense and one of them steps out of line to over-help, it’s a kick to an open guy — that’s what they do.
“We got a couple of nice looks that could have brought it back to within about six or so ... we just need to get more consistent knocking those in,” added Benish.
Vukovich, the grandson of former Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Pete Vukovich who led the Crew to the 1982 World Series, was light’s out early, making two 3s in the first half.
Ciriacks, a 6-foot-5 senior wing, hit a 3-pointer, and after Ryan Brost hit a layup to bring the Eagles within 10-7, Vukovich went on a personal 8-0 run, making two 3-pointers while extending the ET lead to 20-7.
Ciriacks and Vukovich scored all but nine of the Trojans’ 34 first-half points, and together combined to outscore Jefferson by themselves, 25-24, over the first 18 minutes.
Anfang and Brost each scored 11 points to pace the Eagles, while Ciriacks complemented Vukovich with 19.
The Trojans (10-6, 10-3) came into the game red hot, averaging 91 points over their last three contests.
“Against East Troy you always have to be close to your man and be there to contest shots, and I thought we did a nice job of that tonight,” said Benish. “I’m proud of our effort and our hustle, our focus was better.”
Jefferson will make up a game with Brodhead Monday. The RVC crossover tips off at 7:15 p.m. at PremierBank Gymnasium.