Jefferson sophomore Ashton Moore (20) stands tall against 6-5, 245-pound Fort Jennings senior Brandon Wehri during the first period of their non-league basketball clash Tuesday night. (DHI Media/Jim Metcalfe)
Jefferson sophomore Ashton Moore (20) stands tall against 6-5, 245-pound Fort Jennings senior Brandon Wehri during the first period of their non-league basketball clash Tuesday night. (DHI Media/Jim Metcalfe)

FORT JENNINGS — Both Jefferson head boys basketball coach Jordan Jettinghoff and his Fort Jennings counterpart, Ryan Schroeder, agreed as to the key of their non-league matchup Tuesday night inside The Fort of Fort Jennings High School.

The start.

The host Musketeers scored the first 15 points and road that to a 50-42 conquest.

Jettinghoff was minus 6-5 senior Alex Rode (school suspension, according to Jettinghoff) and again adjusted his starting five, bringing 6-5 seniors Tyler Bratton and Davion Tyson off the bench and starting a small lineup, with no one over over 6-1: Brenen Auer, Trey Gossman, Caleb Lucas, Hunter Haehn and junior varsity player Ashton Moore.

“I was trying to send a message to the guys about effort, energy and enthusiasm. When we played with those three things, we can play awfully well,” Jettinghoff added. “We did get off to a slow start but when we got the regulars in in the second period, we played them even. We got it within 12 with three minutes to go but missed some jump shots and layups; they pushed it back to 17 by halftime. We rebounded with them; rebounding is pure effort more than talent. We also handled the ball a lot better than we have been, something we have struggled with.”

“It really helps to come out and hit shots to start a game; that allowed us to get into our press and bother them some to help our offense even more,” Schroeder added. “Jefferson made a nice comeback and didn’t quit but I thought in particular Ian Finn played well; he attacked the lane and the basket and that set things up for his teammates. We’re not there yet — where we want to be — but we’re steadily progressing; with the tournament draw around the corner and if we can keep progressing, with our senior leadership, we have a chance to make a run in the tournament.”

The Musketeers (11-5) — with their taller lineup — took advantage by being nearly perfect from the field: 10-of-11; in the first period, while the Wildcats (4-13) missed their first six efforts and turned it over four times. Jennings took the lead for good 18 seconds into the game on a Cole Horstman basket and then used a 1-2-2 trapping full-court press to bother the smaller Wildcats. Horstman’s seven in the period led the way and a basket by Ian Ricker gave them a 15-0 spread. Auer’s mid-lane jumper got the Wildcats on the board at 2:28 but a layin (feed by Brandon Wehri) at four seconds put the orange-and-black up 23-6.

Moore picked up two fouls in the first 6:58.

With the Wildcat regulars in the game starting the second stanza, they played the Musketeers a lot more evenly. In fact, it was so even, the teams split 14 points between. The nearest the Wildcats got in the period was 27-13 on a 3-ball by Bratton at 4:34 but the Wildcats missed the last eight shots and two foul shots the rest of the half. A 3-pointer by Finn at 1:30 gave the hosts a 30-13 halftime margin.

Moore missed the final two minutes with his third foul, while Auer and Hunter Mericle had their seconds.

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Try as the red-and-white might in the third period, they couldn’t heat up enough to mount a run, nor contain the Musketeers enough to do the same. A foul shot by Auer at 2:46 got them within 36-21 before the hosts pushed their margin to 20 — 41-21 — on a offensive putback-and-harm by Wehri at 52.1 seconds. A short banker by Bratton at 31 seconds finished off his 10-point quarter and got the visitors within 41-23.

Jefferson would not go away quietly in the fourth quarter. They picked up the defense and with Bratton staying hot (10 more points), Mericle’s triple from the key at 2:02 got them within 43-37. They could get no closer as Jennings canned 5-of-7 singles in the final 1:42 to keep them from getting closer.

In JV action, Evan Hoersten and Simon Smith collected 11 each to pace the Musketeers to a 42-34 victory.

Ian Wannemacher countered with 11 for Jefferson.

Jefferson hosts Spencerville in NWC action Friday.

Jefferson also added a road game at Russia Saturday, while Fort Jennings visits New Bremen that night.

VARSITY

JEFFERSON (42)

Brenen Auer 2-11 2-4 6, Hunter Haehn 0-1 0-0 0, Davion Tyson 1-3 0-0 2, Tyler Bratton 8-15 2-6 22, Caleb Lucas 0-1 0-0 0, Trey Gossman 0-2 2-2 2, Ashton Moore 0-2 0-0 0, Jeffrey Caputo 0-2 2-2 2, Hunter Mericle 3-5 0-0 8, Doug Long Jr. 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-41 8-14 42.

FORT JENNINGS (50)

Cole Horstman 5-9 6-8 11, Brandon Wehri 4-9 3-3 11, Ian Finn 4-8 2-3 11, Luke Trentman 0-2 0-0 0, Reese Von Sossan 1-1-3, Ian Ricker 1-2 0-0 2, Erik Klausing 2-4 2-2 7, Jeff Hoersten 1-3 0-0 3. Totals 14-3-13/16-50.

Score by Quarters:

Jefferson 6 7 10 19 - 42

Fort Jennings 23 7 11 9 - 50

Total Field Goal Percentage: Jefferson 34.1, Fort Jennings 45.9. Free Throw Percentage: Jefferson 57.1, Fort Jennings 81.3. Three-Point Field Goals/Percentage: Jefferson 6-19/ 31.6 (Bratton 4, Mericle 2), Fort Jennings 3-8/37.5 (Klausing, Hoersten, Finn). Rebounds: Jefferson 25/9 off. (Bratton 9), Fort Jennings 26/7 off. (Horstman 6). Assists: Jefferson 6 (Auer/Gossman 2), Fort Jennings 10 (Finn/Wehri 3). Steals: Jefferson 5 (Auer/Bratton 2), Fort Jennings 5 (Klausing/Finn/Trentman/Horstman/Wehri 1). Blocks: Jefferson 3 (Bratton 3), Fort Jennings 2 (Klausing/Horstman 1). Turnovers: Jefferson 10, Fort Jennings 10. Fouls: Jefferson 18, Fort Jennings 11.

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JUNIOR VARSITY

JEFFERSON (34)

Logan Herron 1-1-4, Troy Wolfe 1-0-2, Ian Wannemacher 4-2-11, Jeffrey Caputo 2-0-4, Damon Wiltsie 0-0-0, Julia Grant 1-0-3, Logan Gallmeier 0-0-0, Logan Hubert 1-0-2, Ashton Moore 4-0-8. Totals 11-3-3/7-34.

FORT JENNINGS (42)

Evan Hoersten 5-0-11, Carson Kazee 2-3-7, Reese Von Sossan 2-2-7, Jared Liebrecht 0-0-0, Cody Horstman 0-0-0, Derek Luersman 1-0-2, Zach Schulte 2-0-4, Brandon Suever 0-0-0, Simon Smith 4-0-11. Totals 11-5-5/13-42.

Score by Quarters:

Jefferson 4 14 9 7 - 34

Fort Jennings 12 9 13 8 - 42

Three-point Goals: Jefferson, Herron, Wannemacher, Grant; Fort Jennings, Smith 3, Hoersten, Von Sossan.