The boys’ basketball Falcons took on the Par Hills Vikings in their final regular season home game, as well as the class of 2020’s senior night. The Falcons would steal a 58-39 victory in a game which seemed much closer than the final score.
The Falcons’ six seniors were all honored pre-game. Five seniors–Buddy Jacobus, Dan Profaca, Mattie Johnson, Matt Moran, and David Hanna–made up the starting-five for J-Town, as well as senior Sean Whalen, who came off the bench during the game.
“This game meant a lot for us,” Dan Profaca said of senior night. “It is definitely something very memorable for me and I am so grateful for… In a snap of a finger you’re a senior, and I just try to get that to all of the younger guys as well as the seniors.”
Scoring for the Falcons had its basic outline from this season with a little bit of a twist. It was Johnson, Moran, and Whalen leading the way for Jefferson; however, Moran led the team with 18 points. Whalen followed with 14 and over 20 rebounds on the night as Johnson was quiet, but still managed to put together a double-digit ten-point night.
Jefferson started out slow, but the Vikings came out even slower. Buckets were at a premium in the first quarter, as both teams were unable to find consistency shooting the ball. Led by Moran’s five points in the first, the Falcons were able to scrape out a 9-8 lead after the first quarter.
J-Town saw improvement in the second. The Falcons re-established their ball movement ,which has been vital all year, and began to knock down shots in a more consistent fashion. Even with their missed shots in the quarter, Whalen was there to gather many rebounds and second-chance points for the Falcons. Although their play improved, Par Hills would still hang around, heading into half with the Falcons leading by just five points.
As has been proven time and again this season, J-Town is a second half team. Right off the bat in the third quarter, Johnson, Whalen, and Moran all began to heat up. As the shooting improved, so did the defense for the Falcons, getting them a comfortable lead in the third. To add more comfort, junior forward Andrew Weber would nail a free throw after time had expired in the quarter to extend the Falcons out to a 15-point lead and all the momentum.
Par Hills would continue to fight in the fourth. As their comeback would seem more certain, the Falcons would quickly give a blow right back. That was until Buddy Jacobus made a great move to the basket and finished the layup over a much bigger defender than him, getting all the energy on the Falcons’ side.
It was shortly after that the seniors were pulled from the game. As they received a standing ovation, the six seniors all checked out of the game for the last regular season time of their Jefferson careers.
“Buddy has really been a great influence on me,” teammate Cole Fitzgerald said post game. “We have been teammates for four years and he has taught me so much, even just about life and he’s a really amazing leader.”
“I just try to help the guys,” Jacobus said. “Guys like Cole (Fitzgerald) who will play point guard next year, I try and help them learn to run and see the offense better.”
The rest of the Falcons’ squad would lock down the win with a 58-39 final.
My player of the game award goes to to Sean Whalen. Whalen played a tough game in the paint, and although his shot percentage wasn’t where he’d like it, the big man tallied rebound after rebound and put together 14 points to go with it.
Next J-Town heads to the states. The Falcons have been given the third seed and will take on the fourteen-seeded Vernon Vikings on Tuesday, March 3, back at The Nest.