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Sunday, Apr 20, 2014

Jefferson girls wins holiday basketball tournament


LAND O’ LAKES — Both Jefferson and Academy at the Lakes were looking for some momentum heading into the two-day break from basketball, with Christmas approaching, in the championship final of the AATL Holiday Tournament on Monday night.

The Dragons were able to use their height advantage, as Tatianna Burton collected 16 rebounds and scored 15 points en route to a 48-42 victory against the Wildcats, which were previously undefeated at 10-0 before the contest.

“We wanted to get (Burton) involved early on into the game to get her going,” Jefferson coach Mareka Davis said. “She went to work. We rely heavily on her and she did her job. She asked for the ball early on and she delivered.”

Jefferson (7-4) broke out of the gate with several baskets and forced AATL to double down on Burton and frontcourt mates Denise Scott (7 points) and Toni Cox (11 points, 3 rebounds) because of the height disparity. Academy at the Lakes (10-1) countered Burton in the low post with its center, Imani Thomas, who posted 20 points and seven rebounds.

By halftime, the Dragons were leading 24-17 but shot only 10 of 31 (32 percent) from the field, four of 12 from the free throw line and turned over the basketball 12 times. The Wildcats didn’t fare much better, as they only knocked down seven of 24 attempts (29 percent) and shot two of 10 from the line.

The Wildcats could not cut down the Dragons’ lead to anything lower than four points late in the fourth quarter. Two clutch free throws by point-guard MaKayla Gentry, who was named the tournament’s most valuable player, late in the final period proved to be the dagger. Gentry ended the night with 12 points, six steals and four rebounds. Audra Leipold scored 11 points for the Wildcats.

JEFFERSON (48)—Burton 7 1-6 15, Gentry 4 3-5 12, Cox 4 3-3 11, Scott 3 0-0 7, Brooks 0 2-2 2, Daphney 0 1-2 1, Walker 0 0-1 0. Totals—18 10-19 48.

ACADEMY AT THE LAKES (42)—Thomas 9 2-4 20, Leipold 4 2-4 11, Polasky 2 0-4 5, Santiago 1 2-2 4, Wells 1 0-0 2. Totals—17 6-14 42.

Jefferson 12 12 16 8 — 48

AATL 10 7 12 13 — 42

3-point goals—Scott 1, Gentry 1 (J); Polasky 1, Leipold 1 (A). Record—J 7-4, A 10-1.