The Thomas Jefferson girls basketball team fell in heartbreaking fashion to the Foster Bulldogs, 50-47, at home on Nov. 29.
The Raiders trailed the entirety of the game, but found a way to get back in the game in the fourth quarter.
“We gave it our best. We knew Foster was going to be tough, but we kept our heads up,” said senior Katherine Meza Zamarron.
Last season was a big step forward for the Raiders after a brutal start to the season, losing their first eight out of nine games. Thomas Jefferson found a way to win five of seven late in the year and was able to sneak its way into the playoffs for the first time since 2019. At the district level, the Raiders played Central Kitsap and didn’t show well, losing 52-23 to the Cougars.
This season is a new year. Under head coach Shun Austin-Captville, the Raiders won their first game of the season for the first time since that 2019 team.
The matchup against Foster was the second straight fixture between these two teams. Last season, Foster hosted the Raiders and defeated Captville’s squad 51-41.
For the matchup on Nov. 29, the Raiders struggled to get going offensively early on. A big part of that was sophomore point guard Jazmyne DuBose going down with an ankle injury at the tail end of the first quarter. Lianna Saucedo kept the raiders in the game with four crucial late points in the quarter to stay alive as the Raiders trailed by one at the end of the first quarter, 11-10.
The Raiders were only able to find seven points in the second quarter while Foster extended its lead to 10 points, 27-17.
In the third quarter, the Raiders started to find the bottom of the bucket. Adriana Le and Yazmine Perry combined for nine points in the quarter and closed the gap to eight points. The Raiders focused on communication and building each other’s confidence: “We wanted to lift each other up. It was about motivation toward one another,” Zamarron said.
Thomas Jefferson found a way back into the game in the fourth quarter. Once the game was cut down to eight, the Raiders outscored Foster 9-2 to start the final period. The game was down to one point, 37-38, but Foster found some offense from Selina Koch and Ariyana Deloney to separate themselves from TJ.
Besides two free-throws in the first quarter, junior Damea Hightower scored six huge points for the Raiders. With 36.7 seconds left, the Raiders trailed by three, but huge free throws made by Foster put the game away.
The game had a lot of learning points for the Raiders to take away moving forward.
“They (Foster) gave us a tough game and it helps us understand what we need to focus on and get better at as a team,” Zamarron said.
The Raiders are back in action Dec. 5 on the road at Decatur.