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The fresh legs proved to be the difference.

Bassil Ahmed's goal with just under eight minutes left Saturday lifted Jefferson City Jays to a 1-0 win against the Ozark Tigers to wrap up play in the Rock Bridge Invitational at Eddie Horn Field.

"He's athletic and that showed out in this game," Jays coach Scott Blake said.

Ahmed missed Saturday morning's Invitational game against Francis Howell in Columbia because he was taking the ACT. So while his teammates were playing their third game in less than 24 hours, it was just the second for the Jefferson City senior.

"This was a typical third game of a tournament," Blake said. "Everybody is a little tired, not everybody is making the extra runs.

"But Bassil had a little more energy after missing the game this morning."

On the game-winner, Ahmed took a pass near the top of the box before dribbling through the Tiger defense toward the Ozark net. He found himself open and lined a shot into the back of the net.

Jefferson City outshot Ozark 11-6 in the first half, but couldn't get on the scoreboard.

"We had the better of the play, we just didn't get a goal," Blake said.

Blake said the second half was more than a little dicey for the Jays.

"The game was just hanging there, waiting for somebody to take it," Blake said. "It was very uncomfortable."

But Ahmed's goal brightened the late afternoon contest for Jefferson City.

"It was a perfect moment for Bassil to step up and score," Blake said.

Blake said Jefferson City can take a lesson away from the contest.

"It's hard to be mentally sharp in the third game and championship teams still have it mentally even when they are tired," he said. "I feel like we're still to be determined in that category. I feel like we've got it in us, but it's something we still need to develop."

Toby Hughes was in goal for Jefferson City's 11th shutout of the season. He finished with four saves Saturday.

It was the second meeting of the season between the Jays and Tigers. Jefferson City was a 3-0 winner Aug. 29 at Ozark.

"They changed some things and we played different as well," Blake said. "Both teams have gotten better since we played the first time."

On Friday, Jefferson City began the Invitational with a 2-1 win against previously unbeaten Fort Zumwalt South.

Ethan Blake had a goal and an assist in the win. Chase Schnieders had the other goal for the Jays.

"It took everything we had to win," Scott Blake said.

Earlier Saturday, Jefferson City was without three starters and dropped a 2-1 decision to Francis Howell in Invitational action in Columbia.

"We dug into our roster and that's always a good thing," Blake said. "The more we do that, the better it will make our team in the long run."

The loss snapped an eight-game winning streak for the Jays.

"I know the guys were disappointed," Blake said. "But losses are where you can see what deficiencies you might have and try to improve on them."

Darby Hall had the goal for Jefferson City, coming on a penalty kick after Francis Howell was called for a handball in the box.

Jefferson City (14-2) is back in action Monday against Helias at the Crusader Athletic Complex. The junior varsity game, limited to one half, will begin at 5 p.m. The varsity contest should start around 6 p.m.

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