Pressure decides game in 1st quarter

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION — Like the thick clouds of dust that blotted the Oklahoma sun during the Dust Bowl era, the people there knew what was coming.

When Martinsburg brought its twice-beaten basketball team to play at Jefferson, everybody associated with the game knew what was coming.

Martinsburg would pressure Jefferson. Pressure Jefferson fullcourt until the life went out of the Cougars. Unless Jefferson found some way to get past the swarming Bulldogs, the game would quickly become a rout. And the last three quarters or more would be no more than protocol as called for by the rules.

The rout came early.

Martinsburg had a 21-point lead after only a quarter.

The pressure did it. The same as the all-engulfing dust storms did it to the people in their path.

The last three quarters were played.

Martinsburg had a 73-48 win and remained unbeaten in Class AAA Sectional games . . . while Jefferson remained winless in Sectional games it has tried.

It was 29-8 when the first quarter ended almost predictably when Denzel Cole threw in a long heave from halfcourt near the horn.

Jefferson, with its list of mid-season call-ups from the jayvee team, was without leading scorer Jalen Smith but Smith’s presence would not have erased much from Martinsburg’s humbling first quarter pressure defense.

Martinsburg was 17-2 overall and Jefferson was 4-13 and facing a game the next day after making the long trip to Bridgeport without Smith playing.

Some little salve for the Jefferson wounds was provided by Michael King’s season-high 20 points, helped immensely by his six three-point field goals.

But knowing what was coming and being powerless to stop its game-controlling effects hadn’t helped the Cougars at all.

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