DANDRIDGE — Following a disappointing loss to Sevier County last Friday night, the Jefferson County boys basketball team shutdown any doubts about the teams playing ability Thursday night, taking down Northview Academy 70-53.
The win was capped off in style late in the fourth quarter when Zach Rose, a manager on the team all season, checked into the game and sent the crowd into a frenzy with a floater in the lane and an old-fashioned three-point play.
“We wanted to try some things and see how certain lineups and things worked, so it was a good game,” Jefferson County coach Matt Johnson said. “Northview has some kids who can shoot the ball, so we were never really able to extend the lead substantially. Hopefully, this game was good for both teams to head into tournament play next week.”
The win capped off a successful regular season for Jefferson County, finishing with a 16-11 record. Their 9-3 conference record secures them the number two seed in the district tournament, earning a double- bye into the semi’s next Friday.
The Patriots were led in the game by Kobe Parker, who had 16 points, and Noah Bowman, who added 14. Braxton Chaney had 12.
With Jordan Mullins out with an ankle injury, the Patriots, who already had a smaller bench, need their bench players more than ever. On Thursday night, Camden Fritz delivered off the bench with seven points in extensive playing time.
“Camden has been playing unbelievable the past couple of weeks,” Johnson said. “The intensity he brings and his ability to create second chance shots for his teammates has been great. Just a solid effort from him tonight.”
Northview falls to 15-14 with the loss to close out their season. The Cougars were led in the game by Hunter Walker and Kobe Finch, who each had 11 points.
Parker got the scoring going for the Patriots to start the game as they never trailed. Parker had seven points in the first quarter, capping it off with a half-court heave at the buzzer that gave Jeff County a 20-14 lead.
The Patriots tried to pull away in the second quarter, getting the lead to 16 at one point, but Northview wouldn’t go away. The Cougars got it down to 11, but Jeff County led by 13 at the half.
However, Northview opened the third quarter on a quick 9-2 run to cut the lead to six. Jeff County got back on the right track though, and the lead was 11 after three.
Looking to put the game away, Bowman took the game over for the Patriots in the fourth. He scored 10 straight at one point for Jeff County, including postering a Northview defender on a dunk. That run by Bowman put the game away, and Rose capped the game off.
“Noah is getting better and better,” Johnson said. “From where he was last year to where he is now is unbelievable. He helps prevent easy baskets by his presence, and he’s just getting better.”
The Patriots will have a week off before returning to action in the district tournament. With that bye week, Jeff County will look to rest their team, but also sharpen up a few things heading into the tournament.
“It’ll be a combination of resting and being really solid in executing our stuff,” Johnson said. “We’re going to have some intense practices coming up.”