No substitute for size
The Thomas Jefferson Gryphons played with maximum effort Thursday night but the sheer size of Mountain Heritage was just too much. Mountain Heritage was led by big men Bob Taylor (6-8) and Will Buckner (6-7) on route to a 60-41 win over TJCA inside of Cool Springs Gymnasium.
"We fought them hard but they just had more talent than we did," TJCA head coach Ken Hines said after the loss. "We just couldn't keep their big boys off the boards. We were just outmatched size-wise."
The Cougars(15-7, 10-2 WHC) went up early 6-0 until Efrim Borders and Nathaniel executed a perfect give-and-go to put TJCA on the boardand cut the lead to just four points.
From then on, Taylor and Bucker dominated the paint and the boards for Mountain Heritage.
TJCA (3-12, 1-9 WHC) was in a 13-3 hole before Chris Mintz came off the bench and displayed some muscle for the Gryphons underneath. However, Mintz couldn’t convert his opportunities at the free throw line and the first quarter ended with the Cougars leading 14-3.
Taylor continued his dominance by starting the second quarter with an alley-oop from teammate Grant Buckner. Taylor slammed another one home on a fastbreak to give Mountain Heritage a 19-7 lead with 5:10 left in the half.
Will Buckner joined the jam party with an alley-oop of his own from his brother Grant making the score 21-7.
The Gryphons cut the lead to single digits at 23-14 before the end of the half but could have been much closer after going 2-of-7 from the free throw line in the second quarter.
Nathaniel Devon did his best to keep his Gryphons in the game with two free throws followed by a steal on the ensuing Cougar possession, but a costly turnover led to another Taylor slam and foul on Devon. Taylor converted the three-point play to make the Cougar lead 35-17 with four minutes left in the third quarter.
Brooks Corder cut into the deficit with a basket underneath while Mintz continued to bang on the block, but the length of the Cougars continued to alter Gryphon shots.
"They got the post players and we just don't have that type of athlete," Hines said. "Even their guards seemed to grow and get taller throughout the game."
Borders closed the quarter with seven straight points but the Cougars took a comfortable 41-28 lead into the final quarter.
With a 47-30 lead and six minutes left in the game, the Cougars slowed the tempo on each possession.
Hines was hit with a technical foul with 1:49 remaining after Will Bucker dunked over Devon on what Hines thought could have been called a travel.
The final two minutes drained off the clock and the Cougars shook the TJCA's hands after sealing a 60-41 win.
"We played hard and gave good effort. I'm just not proud of the outcome," Hines said.
Taylor led all scorers with 26 points while Will Buckner added 13.
Borders led the Gryphons with 18 points.
We're looking for Efrim to do to much," Hines said. "Other people can penetrate and shoot the ball but everyone just looks for Efrim...and he just can't do it all.
TJCA returns to action tonight at the Spindale House where they'll host Lincoln Charter for the 4th Annual Talon Challenge.
Money raised from the nights activities will be donated to the Jimmy V Foundation. Over the past three years over $17,000 has been raised for the Jimmy V Foundation.