The Junction City Blue Jays were down for basically the whole game, but fought back and knotted the game at 84 Monday night against the Topeka West Chargers.
JC head coach Nick Perez called a timeout to help set up a play as the Blue Jays had the ball with 0.7 seconds to go. With senior star A.J. Dickerson forced to sit on the bench after hurting himself on a previous play, the Blue Jays needed a hero to step up and pull it out. That hero turned out to be Qua’Vez Humphreys.
Darrin Battiste took the ball out of bounds with 0.7 seconds, with limited options in front of him. There isn’t much left to do on an inbounds play with that small amount of time remaining, other than a throw-and-pray pass towards the basket. Battiste did that, and found fellow junior Qua’Vez Humphreys, who soared up high for the basketball and banked one home as the buzzer sounded.
It was a big win for the Blue Jays, who could have easily packed it in when they faced large deficits earlier in the game. The Chargers looked unconscious offensively, and it looked like they were going to run away with the game. After they opened the third quarter with multiple three-pointers in a row to widen the lead to 18 points, the Blue Jays did not hold their heads down low. JC took it one possession at a time until the last possession. After a great play call by Perez, the Blue Jays executed and came out victorious.
On the other end of the doubleheader, the Lady Jays played their best game of the season. They ultimately lost 50-44, but it was the best all-around game they have played this season.
After trailing 16-9 after one quarter, the Lady Jays went on a run. JC outscored the Lady Chargers 16-5 in the second quarter to take a four-point lead into halftime. The energized Lady Jays ran to the locker room hoping that it was going to be the night they solidified their first victory of the season.
The Lady Jays continued playing the way that got them the lead in the third quarter, with Alyssa Grygier knocking down another triple. Grygier finished the contest with four from downtown. Up seven with just one quarter to go, the Lady Chargers turned it up offensively and it ended up being just enough to squeak by the Lady Jays. The Lady Chargers started to utilize their size in the paint more in the final frame, and forced JC into some turnovers, catching them off rhythm. This led to a 50-44 victory over the winless Lady Jays.
The Lady Jays have plenty to be proud of after the contest. It has been a long season for them, but they still come to play with tremendous heart every time they step out onto the hardwood. They came up just short in this one, but coach Derek Petty thinks they have what it takes if they can play a full 32-minute all-around basketball game.
Both Junction City teams will be back at it Tuesday night when they host Seaman High School. The Lady Jays will tip-off at 4:30 p.m., as the time was adjusted due to the forecast for snow. The boys will follow after the conclusion of that game. It will be Senior Night at Shenk Gymnasium.