Basketball Jays Top Curtis in District Opener

Posted January 3, 2019 / Last updated January 9, 2019

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The Jesuit basketball team opened district play on Wednesday, Jan. 2, with a 58-53 victory over John Curtis. Elijah Morgan led a balanced scoring attack with 14 points. 

John Curtis took control early as the Jesuit struggled to defend the Patriots lane penetration, but the Blue Jays overcame early offensive struggles to end of the 1st Quarter ahead by a bucket. Noah Varnado led the charge with seven of Jesuit’s nine points in the 2nd Quarter, and the Jays went into the locker room at halftime trailing 27-29.

Midway through the 3rd Quarter, Jesuit was able to get some separation from Curtis, thanks to aggressive full-court defense. The Jays forced a series of turnovers from the Patriots and capitalized on balanced scoring in transition from all five players on the court. Things looked good with six minutes to play in the 4th Quarter and the Jays leading by 11. 

But John Curtis was not going down without a fight. With Elijah Morgan out for three minutes for medical attention, the Patriots cut the lead to 1 point by forcing many of Jesuit’s 22 total turnovers, dominating the offensive boards, and controlling the tempo. Although Morgan returned to the game, it was Nick Artigues who stole back the momentum. With under a minute to play, Artigues made a near-impossible layup while enduring a hard foul under the basket. After making a foul shot on the next possession, Artigues then drew an offensive foul on Curtis which sealed their fate, now down five points with 20 seconds to play. Two foul shots by Morgan closed the game with the Jays ahead, 58-53.

Through the Lens…

View the Jesuit vs. John Curtis Photo Gallery

Noah Varnado scores two of his seven points in the 2nd Quarter.

By the Numbers…

Elijah Morgan (#10) – 14 points, 6 rebounds Robert McMahon (#22) – 12 points
Noah Varnado (#23) – 13 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals Kyle Haupt (#3) – 10 points, 2 steals

In His Words…

Following the game, head basketball coach Chris Jennings ’78 gave a realistic summary of the game: “You have to hand it to Curtis for playing really physical basketball. They were all over the offensive boards late in the game and made it tough for us to keep the lead. We have a long way to go to get better, but that’s what we’re focused on. We need to work on taking care of the basketball and making free throws. The district has a lot of really good teams, and we need to play much better if we’re going to compete.”

On the Horizon…

The Jays (19-2, 1-0) continue district play at Archbishop Rummel on Saturday, Jan. 5. Tip off is set for 7 p.m.