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story.lead_photo.caption Ben Folz of the Jays goes up for a layup past Kardell Sims of the Sedalia Smith-Cotton during Tuesday's game at Fleming Fieldhouse. Photo by Jason Strickland / News Tribune.

The Jefferson City Jays want to play fast this season.

The Sedalia Smith-Cotton Tigers brought that same mentality Tuesday night to Fleming Fieldhouse.

It worked out a lot better for the Tigers.

Jefferson City turned the ball over 20 times and Smith-Cotton outscored the Jays by 19 in the third quarter in an 81-64 win for the Tigers.

"A lot of our turnovers are careless," Jays coach Tony Phillips said. "We're just throwing them up for 50-50 balls, or we'll get a rebound and we knock it out each other's hands. We throw an outlet pass and nobody's there."

Six of the Jays turnover came in the third quarter, the first leading to free throws for Keith Hawkins Jr. Smith-Cotton made 24-of-39 at the free-throw line.

Kardell Sims was 7-of-10 at the line, including one to convert a three-point play for a 43-36 lead early in the third quarter.

Sims scored seven of his game-high 30 points in that quarter.

"He was a difference maker," Phillips said.

The 6-foot-6 senior also had seven rebounds, second on the team behind Matt Thompson's 11 boards.

The Tigers scored 13 points in a span of 3:30 to lead 63-43 heading to the fourth quarter.

The Jays trailed by as many as 24 points in the final quarter, but Brennan Jeffries and Sterling DeSha each put in a layup in a 15-second span to cut the deficit to 16 with 1:33 left.

"We might have made some mistakes, but we're still playing hard," Phillips said. "They didn't give up."

Jeffries scored 22 points for the Jays despite sitting in the third quarter after a technical foul late in the second quarter.

"I thought the guys competed," Phillips said of the third quarter. "Maybe down the road that will help us a little bit."

The Tigers got out to a 15-6 lead before Jeffries scored eight of the Jays' next 10 points to only trail 19-16 after the first quarter.

"When we go several possessions without getting a good look, we want Brennan to step up and I thought he did that," Phillips said.

The Jays' largest lead was 28-22 after a steal led to points at the 5:23 mark of the second quarter.

The Tigers tied it at 30 with 1:57 left in the first half on a Hawkins Jr. layup.

Smith-Cotton took the lead for good when Thompson made 1-of-2 at the free-throw line to make the halftime score 36-35.

Christian Finley scored 15 points, Dane Foster added 12 and Brett Grupe contributed 11 points for Smith-Cotton.

DeSha finished just shy of a double-double with 15 points and eight rebounds for the Jays.

Jefferson City (0-1) is off until the clock hits midnight Sunday, Dec. 8 at Mizzou Arena. The Jays will face Warrensburg in the Norm Stewart Classic.

"We're going to take some time off from Thanksgiving and then we're going lace them up and see if we get better," Phillips said. "We're going to practice late a couple times next week and try to get our bodies somewhat prepared for that."

Jefferson City won Tuesday's's JV game 61-21.

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