The Falcons took on the Mountain Lakes Lakers in the annual Dunks for Disabilities game on Friday night. The boys’ game wrapped up the double header which lived up to the hype after a buzzer-beating Lady Falcons victory. J-Town continued to have a good day, as the boys soared over the Lakers 59-44.
Jefferson’s leading scorer came as no surprise. It was senior Mattie Johnson, who tallied 25 points on the night. That gives Johnson 25 or more points in three of the past four games.
“My teammates have been getting me the ball. They trust me and lately I’ve been getting it done for them,” Johnson said. The senior was accompanied by his fellow classmates in Matt Moran (14 points) and Sean Whalen (12 points).
Jefferson came out to a loud court as the gymnasium was buzzing for this matchup against 8-0 Mountain Lakes. The Falcons would capitalize. The Matts (Johnson and Moran) both put together six-point quarters against the big Lakers defense and sent J-Town in front by five after the first.
After a strong first, the stroke of the Falcons would deflate a little bit. With the Jefferson offense slowing up, the Lakers ‘took this opportunity to storm back into the game and surge back in front by the end of the half 23-20.
During halftime, the Falcons got re-energized. The J-Town defense that has been so key all year came back to life, along with the loud crowd. Another key this year, Johnson, also regrouped during the break as the Falcons leading scorer did just that with 14 points for the quarter, leading the flock of Falcons to a commanding 12-point advantage.
In the fourth, it was all in for J-Town. That’s when the pieces came into place. After continued strong defense from Cole Fitzgerald, Tyler Ruban, and Sean Whalen, the Falcons were able to maintain the lead throughout the quarter.
“I continuously watched film from last year when Paulie Monaco guarded their big man and just tried to replicate his good defense,” Ruban said. When all was said and done, Jefferson stole a 59-44 win over a top team in the area, picking up a big statement win in future seeding scenarios.
Today it was too hard to decide a player of the game. With that being said I’m awarding both Mattie Johnson and Sean Whalen in the Falcons win.
Johnson led the Falcons offensively. In a game of this magnitude it has been repeated that “Your studs have to be studs,” by both Coach Joe DiGennaro and Coach Jason Kalish. Johnson was just that. He took and made the biggest shots for Jefferson and also grabbed some big rebounds down the stretch.
Then there was the big man, Sean Whalen. Whalen tallied 12 points; however, that wasn’t his biggest contribution. The senior grabbed double-digit rebounds and continued to lead the team in rebounds. Whalen also covered Mountain Lakes 6’ 8” big man but recorded many blocks and rebounds over the him.
“I knew I needed to do my job and get rebounds for us,” Whalen said. “A goal for me has been to lead in rebounds and I’ve been able to do that lately.”
“It was a rough start for us but now we’re getting hot and playing really well,” Johnson said.
Jefferson takes their five straight victories to High Point on Tuesday, January 14 with hopes to keep the good vibes going.