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Men’s Varsity Basketball faces off against Lee

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Men’s Varsity Basketball faces off against Lee

During a time-out, the varsity team ends their strategic huddle with a cheer.

During a time-out, the varsity team ends their strategic huddle with a cheer.

During a time-out, the varsity team ends their strategic huddle with a cheer.

During a time-out, the varsity team ends their strategic huddle with a cheer.

Bayliss Wagner, Staff Reporter

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As the Jefferson and Lee varsity men’s basketball teams warmed up on opposite sides of the brand-new gym, affectionately named “Monticello” in homage to Thomas Jefferson’s architectural masterpiece, the crowd of white-clad fans continued to grow. The heads of the “Monticello Maniacs,” Jefferson’s dedicated hype squad, set their first offensive attack in motion while students settled in among their classmates on Friday, January 8.

“ONE!” they shouted in unison. A Lee player’s shot had ricocheted off of the rim. The Jefferson student section counted each subsequent missed shot as the opposing team members continued to line up and shoot. They kept up the spirit during the game, applauding each basket, raising their hands up during Jefferson’s foul shots, and making as much noise as possible during Lee’s penalty shot opportunities. Jefferson’s dance team performance elicited cheers from the crowd as well.

The team appreciates and benefits from the presence of the Maniacs and student fans. “We play better when more people show up to the game,” said junior wing and power forward player Matt Jennings, “It’s definitely more fun to play in front of a large crowd.” He cites the Falls Church game, which was on December 18, as proof, when they had the “biggest crowd,” and won by 17 points.

The Lee team, to whom the Jefferson men’s team lost by only one point in the 2013-2014 season, kept them on their toes again this year in a close game. The score remained low on both ends for the first quarter, with Jefferson scoring only one three-pointer. Jennings noted that this was the lowest quarterly amount of points they had ever scored. “That kind of dug us in a hole early,” he said. The Jefferson team stepped up during the second half, but ended up falling to Lee 37- 34.

Because Lee is in the same conference as Jefferson, they will face off again at Lee before the end of the season. The team expects to “play high in the conference,” as Jennings said. The top seeded teams are able to host playoff games, giving them a home advantage as well as the likelihood of more fans.

Though the January 8 game “went much worse than expected,” as Jennings claimed, he thought that the Jefferson team maintained a solid defense overall.

“What resulted from our good defense was mediocre offense,” Jennings said. “If we made 10% more of our shots we would’ve definitely won.”

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Men’s Varsity Basketball faces off against Lee