MARTINSBURG— Although he missed way too many free throws, Martinsburg’s Brandon Ashenfelter provided the Bulldogs with the rebounding and inside scoring needed to move away from pesky Jefferson in one of the semifinal games in the local Sectional tournament.
Jefferson had trailed by only two points at the half. The Cougars had maintained contact on the constructive scoring/passing of Josh Dudley and the points from Kalen Nehler.
When the third quarter opened, it was Ashenfelter who pushed Martinsburg’s lead out to six and then eight points. And when the bullish Ashenfelter was joined by Donte Grantham and Jalen Lewis, Jefferson was unable to maintain contact as the Bulldogs outscored the Cougars by 29 points in the second half to eventually post a 74-43 Sectional tournament win.
The loss ended Jefferson’s season with an 11-13 overall record and sent the Bulldogs (20-2 overall) to the Sectional finals in their own gym against Hedgesville, a team they had beaten three times during the 2011-12 campaign.
Martinsburg had outscored the Cougars 18-11 in the third quarter and then 27-5 in the fourth period.
Once Ashenfelter began getting offensive rebounds and scoring inside he was joined by teammates Grantham (22 points and 12 rebounds) and Lewis (16 points and six rebounds). Ashenfelter totaled 17 points on 6-for-8 from the field and 5-for-11 from the free throw line and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Jefferson lost the rebound war by 22 after only being outrebounded by five in the first half.
Nehler scored 14 points and Dudley had nine for the Cougars. The usually high-scoring Garrett Grantham went 3-for-12 from the field and missed too many minutes when sidelined because of foul problems.
The game had been close for more than a half. But when Ashenfelter, who doesn’t even start, began to master the Cougars it quickly got out of hand for hard-pressed Jefferson.