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story.lead_photo.caption Jefferson City's Brooke Bates dribbles past Troy-Buchanan's Morgan Shields during Thursday's game at Fleming Fieldhouse. Photo by Sally Ince / News Tribune.

It's just hard to score against them.

Jefferson City held Troy-Buchanan to just 21 percent shooting from the field Thursday night as the Lady Jays opened their home schedule with a 57-33 victory against the Lady Trojans at Fleming Fieldhouse.

"You are going to have off-nights offensively shooting the ball, but we can't afford to ever have an off-night defensively," Jefferson City coach Brad Conway said. "It all starts with defense."

In seven games this season, teams are averaging just 27.4 points against Jefferson City.

"We are paying attention to what we need to do defensively, our attention to detail in that part of the game is good," Conway said.

Troy-Buchanan's Maggie Illig hit a 3-pointer in the opening minute to give the Lady Trojans an early lead. The Lady Jays responded with a 7-0 spurt to take the lead for good and took a 16-6 advantage into the second quarter.

Brooke Bates of the Lady Jays missed a pair of 3-pointers early in the first quarter. She turned that around at the start of the second, hitting a pair to give Jefferson City a 22-6 lead a little more than a minute into the quarter.

"We've been concentrating on taking those shots in practice," Conway said. "It's just a matter of knocking them down and she did that tonight.

"Once they start going in, it frees up everybody else a little bit more."

Troy-Buchanan was held scoreless for more than an eight-minute span in the first and second quarters. The Lady Trojans didn't get on the scoreboard until the 3:10 mark of the second quarter on a 3-pointer by Illig to make it 24-9.

Troy-Buchanan finished just 6-of-30 from the field in the first half as Jefferson City led 30-16 at intermission.

"Our defense is ahead of our offense right now," Conway said. "Our timing is off a little bit, but that stuff will come."

The key to slowing the Lady Trojans is defending their outside shooters. The Lady Jays played a pair of similar teams — Licking and Rogers (Ark.) Heritage — last week at the Stephanie Phillips Classic in Springfield.

Troy-Buchanan was 7-of-33 on 3-pointers Thursday night.

"We did a pretty good job of getting out on their shooters," Conway said.

Jefferson City took a 38-24 lead into the fourth quarter. The Lady Jays led by as many as 25 points in the final eight minutes.

Sarah Linthacum totaled a double-double for Jefferson City, finishing with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Kara Daly and Hannah Linthacum also scored 11 points and pulled down nine rebounds each. Hannah Nilges and Bates both chipped in with eight points in a balanced Jefferson City attack.

"That makes it difficult for teams to guard us, they just can't lock in on one or two players," Conway said.

Illig had 17 points to pace Troy (5-2).

Jefferson City (7-0, ranked No. 1 in Class 5 by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association) is off until the Jefferson Bank Holiday Classic on Dec. 27-29 at Rackers Fieldhouse. The Lady Jays open the Classic against Hickman at 2:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 27.

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