The Jefferson City Lady Jays might not have got the results they wanted from the Jefferson City Jamboree on Thursday night at Fleming Fieldhouse, but they showcased something coach Kay Foster is looking for: Grit and hustle.
The Lady Jays dropped their first two scrimmages, a 23-12 defeat to the Tipton Lady Cardinals and a 30-18 loss to the Helias Lady Crusaders, before ending the Jamboree with a 25-15 victory against the Blair Oaks Lady Falcons.
All in all, it was a good night for Jefferson City.
“Our kids have a lot of grit and I was overjoyed with how they just played hard,” Foster said. “When you have kids that will leave it all out on the court, and I didn’t have a single kid that didn’t, good things are going to happen.”
In the first contest, Tipton jumped out to a 10-1 lead just more than three minutes in and led 16-4 after the first six-minute period.
But the Lady Jays responded in the second half to outscore the reigning Class 2 state champion Lady Cardinals 8-7 to close the contest.
“I thought we were right there with Tipton,” Foster said.
Callie Bilyeu and Reagan Nilges each led the Lady Jays with three points, while Courtney Edwards led Tipton with nine.
In the second scrimmage, Helias came storming out of the gates.
The Lady Crusaders scored the first seven points in part of a 15-3 run to open the contest.
“They hardly missed in the first quarter, it was pretty unbelievable,” Foster said of Helias’ start.
But Jefferson City was able to respond again following the slow start and be competitive the rest of the way, outscoring the Lady Crusaders 15-12 the rest of the way.
“What I loved about my kids, it was like, ‘OK next play, let’s play the second quarter,’” Foster said. “We didn’t dwell on it, and if you have that kind of mindset good things are going to happen.”
Lyssa Sportsman and Izzy Schmidt each tied for a team-high four points in the second contest for the Lady Jays, while Adalyn Koelling led Helias with 14 points.
Jefferson City got to end the night on a high note with its victory against the Lady Falcons.
“I like to win,” Foster said.
The Lady Jays opened the contest on a 7-2 run, fueled by two 3-pointers by Deyja Mays, and led the rest of the way.
Jefferson City led by as many as 12 at 20-8 before Blair Oaks cut into the deficit to close the scrimmage.
“You saw the fatigue factor in our play that last scrimmage,” Foster said. “… The Blair Oaks scrimmage was like the fourth quarter of a game. We are going to have to get into the mentality of winning the fourth quarter.”
The Lady Jays were led by Mays’ six points, while the Lady Falcons were led by Autumn Bax with seven.
Jefferson City will officially open the season at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Eldon.