SELLERSBURG — It’s been a difficult season for Jeffersonville.
Due to illness, injuries and a suspension, Wednesday was only the fifth time the Red Devils had their full roster. That was a big factor in the team’s 2-8 start, its worst since the 2014-15 season.
Jeff, now with its full complement of players, could be turning the corner.
Wednesday night the Red Devils used a strong second half to beat host Rock Creek 67-52.
Senior wing Brandon Rayzer-Moore tallied a game-high 29 points to lead Jeff (4-8) to its second straight win.
“I felt more comfortable today,” Rayzer-Moore said. “We’ve been having more practices and more games. I felt comfortable getting to my spots and I was ultra-aggressive today.”
Drake University recruit Will Lovings-Watts added 17 for the Red Devils, who were able to score against the Lions’ 2-3 zone almost at will. Jeff made 23 of 43 of its field-goal attempts and went 12 for 15 from the free throw line. Rayzer-Moore was 12 of 22 from the field, including 3 of 7 from 3-point range.
Rock Creek (7-7) had a good-shooting first half, making 14 of 22 shots, but was just 6 for 15 after intermission.
“We didn’t defend the rim like we should and got out-rebounded,” Lions coach Chris Brown said. “They play above the rim. I think they are really a dangerous team once (Jeff coach Andrew Grantz) gets everybody together. We didn’t rebound and they shot very well tonight, tremendous (in the first half). They hit some clutch shots.”
Rock Creek led once In the first quarter, but the Red Devils’ offense quickly got going. They led 24-21 at the end of the first quarter and 39-33 at the break.
“We had them well-scouted. We knew the lob was coming. But knowing it was coming and being able to defend those kinds of athletes is two different stories,” Brown said.
Jeff went to work in the third quarter, when it outscored the Lions 16-8. During one span of action, Rayzer-Moore hit a 3, Lovings-Watts made a layup and Rayzer-Moore drilled a jumper. Then Lovings-Watts made a free throw and Rayzer-Moore a layup to push the Jeff lead to 49-39.
“We wanted to speed things up and play at a faster tempo (in the second half),” Grantz said. “I wish we would finish better. I felt we left 15 to 20 points out there on missed layups. We had the advantage in some transition opportunities, but we didn’t make the simple play.”
Jeff only had six turnovers in the win.
“I thought our effort has been better the last couple games,” Grantz said. “We haven’t had guys working on late-game situations or even to know what they are going to do in certain situations. We haven’t had a full group to do it with.
“(But) it was good to see us flying around and being aggressive.”
Grantz was also impressed with Rock Creek’s physical play.
“Their big guys have made such strides since last year,” he said. “That’s a testament to the work they do here.”
Senior Gavin Gullion finished with a team-high 20 points, 14 in the first half, and corralled 10 rebounds. Keajuan Beco, a transfer from Jeff, netted nine while Ladarius Wallace and Jaleb Treat added eight points apiece. Treat also snared a team-high 11 rebounds.
“Gullion played well offensively,” Brown said. “He was a load that first half. His knee, he did something to it before the game, and it started bothering him late in the third quarter. We’re not deep this year.”
Rock Creek is slated to host Scottsburg at 12:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon. Jeffersonville, meanwhile, is scheduled to host Louisville Trinity at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night.
JEFFERSONVILLE 67, ROCK CREEK 52
Jeffersonville 24 15 16 12 — 67
Rock Creek 21 12 8 11 — 52
Jeffersonville (4-8): Will Lovings-Watts 17, Brandon Rayzer-Moore 29, Kode Stoudemire 6, Brenton Moore 7, Shawn Boyd 2, Michael Cooper 6.
Rock Creek (7-7): Ladarius Wallace 8, Keajuan Beco 9, Marial Diper 3, Jonathan Boggs 4, Gavin Gullion 20, Jaleb Treat 8.
3-point field goals: Jeffersonville 5 (Cooper 2, Rayzer-Moore 2, Stoudemire); Rock Creek 4 (Gullion 2, Wallace 2).