TJ girls shock No. 3 team in state

The Jefferson girls basketball team started its season off with a bang Tuesday with a 58-56 last-second win against Enumclaw, the No. 3 ranked team in the state.

“It was exciting to win,” Jefferson senior guard Michelle Morse said. “We’ve been working hard all summer and wanted to get the win in our home gym. This is the way we wanted to start out, to send a message to the rest of the league that this year is our year. We know this is our year to go to state and be a contender.”

With the game tied at 56 with just 33 seconds left, Morse took control of the ball at the top of the key and stalled to run down the clock. With five seconds left, Morse drove to the basket before dumping the ball off to junior Chelsea Hunt, who converted the game-winning lay up.

“I was open under the basket and Michelle saw me,” said Hunt, battle-scared with a fat lip after getting elbowed in the fourth quarter. “It was a wide-open shot. Beating them gets us psyched for the season.”

The game was almost an exact rematch of when the two teams met last year, which Enumclaw won by 10 points. Both teams return all five starters from last year’s teams.

“Basketball? It’s a track meet,” said Jefferson coach Mike Grady. “Both teams run the court. It comes down to making the big-time plays. Michelle made the right decision to dump off the pass. That’s a sign of a great player.”

Morse led the Raiders with 16 points, four assists and four rebounds. Hunt scored 11 and grabbed four rebounds and three steals.

“This is a huge deal for us, they’re phenomenal,” said Clark, who scored all nine of her points on 3-point shots. “To open like this, we got a lot going for us. We have to work harder now. A lot of people will be out to get us.”

The Raiders missed their first seven 3-point shot attempts of the game before Clark finally hit two in a row to give Jefferson a 25-23 lead mid-way through the second quarter.

“We had a lot of jitters,” Clark said. “I was getting really frustrated, but coach told me to keep shooting. Once I started hitting from the outside, it opened things up on the inside and vice versa. Mitzi Moore played the best game I’ve seen her play.”

Moore, a senior post, scored nine points, made two steals and grabbed five rebounds for the Raiders.

“You have to hustle a lot to get around the big girls,” Moore said. “They’re all 6-foot and I’m 5-6. I try to use my quickness. I have to block out and rebound. If I don’t, it puts more pressure on my team.”

Jefferson played at Port Angeles last night, then plays at 2:30 p.m. today at Sequim. Port Angeles finished last season as the No. 5 ranked team in the state and, like Enumclaw, returns all five starters. Sequim is a Class 3A team that made the playoffs last year.

The Raiders are hoping the opening win will give them the momentum to carry them through the difficult early season schedule.

“This is a big win for TJ,” Grady said. “We feel we’re ready to take it to the next level.”

Jefferson opens the league season at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at home against Puyallup.

Tahoma 61, Decatur 57

The Decatur girls basketball team lost its season opener 61-57 Tuesday at Tahoma.

The Gators had a 17-16 lead after the first quarter, but let down in the second quarter and fell behind 35-24 at halftime.

They couldn’t catch up in the second half. Senior Dekeidra Brewer poured in 26 points to lead the Gators. Junior guard Jennifer Morrow scored 12. Kamrica Ary-Turner scored seven points and Cristina Null added six.

Decatur’s next game is at 7:30 p.m.

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