Led by Jacob Radaker’s 22 points, the Jefferson boys’ basketball team picked up its biggest win of the year, routing No. 2-ranked Hart County 66-48 Tuesday (Jan. 28) at home.

Malaki Starks added 14 points, and Owen Parker finished with 11.

"It was a great win, no doubt," coach Kevin Morris said. "We had a lot of guys play well for us. No one really just had a great game other than Jacob, but everyone played solid. Everyone did what it took to win."

After taking a 9-7 lead after a quarter, the Dragons outscored Hart County 21-9 in the second quarter to build a 30-16 edge at the half. Jefferson led 44-32 after three quarters and extended that lead in the fourth quarter.

Morris praised the contributions of Starks in the victory. 

"Malaki played great defense on their best player and shot free throws well down the stretch," he said. "It was just a great, tough, gritty win."

Morris also pointed to the grittiness of guard Kam Robinson, who played while sick. 

"Kam felt terrible for two days and found out when he went to the doctor after the game he has strep throat, but he played and fought his butt off," Morris said. "Not everyone could have done what he did (Tuesday) night feeling the way he felt. He is a tough kid."

The win moved Jefferson (15-7) to 8-3 in Region 8-AAA play. The Dragons sit in second place, one game behind Hart County (22-2), which has a 9-2 region record.

The Dragons close the regular season at home Friday (Jan. 31) at 8:30 p.m. against Jackson County (7-14, 2-9 Region 8-AAA). 

A win would lock up the No. 2 seed for the Region 8-AAA tournament and give the Dragons a bye into the semifinals, which are set for Feb. 6 at Emmanuel College. Jefferson could still finish as the No. 1 seed with a win Friday and a loss from Hart County, which plays Franklin County. 

The play-in round of the region tournament is Feb. 3 (played at the site of the No. 6-seeded girls' team) and the second round is Feb. 4 (played at the site of the No. 3-seeded boys' team).

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