Chartiers Valley grinds out section win at Thomas Jefferson

Friday, December 20, 2019 | 11:37 PM

Chartiers Valley came to Thomas Jefferson and beat the home team at its own game. The Colts beat the Jaguars in a slow, physical half-court basketball game, 56-51.

The third straight win for Chartiers Valley (3-1, 4-2) allows the Colts to leapfrog Thomas Jefferson (2-1, 3-4) in the Section 2-5A standings, trailing only first-place Trinity.

“It was a tough game and we knew it was going to be. That’s kind of what TJ is known for,” Chartiers Valley second-year coach Brandon Sensor said. “We knew it was going to be choppy and chippy throughout the game and we were prepared for that.”

The first quarter was a back-and-forth slugfest with the Colts taking a two-point lead.

Chartiers Valley scored five of the final six points in a grinding second quarter to take a 25-20 lead into the break.

Two things happened in the second half: the duo of senior Jared Goldstrom and junior Brayden Reynolds got hot for Chartiers Valley and senior Noah Pierce single-handedly kept Thomas Jefferson in the game.

Goldstrom led the Colts with 22 points while Reynolds, who seemed to have the ball gravitating to him at times, added 20 points before fouling out.

“He’s learning to be a little more patient,” Senor said of Reynolds. “In that fourth quarter, we were able to isolate him a lot and get him in some pick-and-roll situations and he’s making good decisions passing and driving.

“He’s playing good basketball now. He’s a good player. He works for it.”

Pierce was the only Jaguars player in double-digit scoring as he pumped in 22 points, 20 of which came in the second half. Every time TJ needed a bucket, the senior delivered with six 3-pointers in quarters three and four.

However it wasn’t enough for the Jaguars, who saw their two-game win streak end.

Both teams did a great job on the defensive glass, not allowing possessions to extend as evidenced by each team credited with 23 rebounds each.

However, while protecting the lead late, Chartiers Valley seniors Legister Marcello and Sean Banas each grabbed an offensive rebound that allowed the Colts to keep the ball and kill more clock.

Chartiers Valley reached the WPIAL Class 5A semifinals a year ago before losing to eventual champion Mars. After losing two of their first three, are the Colts finding their identity with three wins this week, including two victories on the road?

“It’s getting there,” Sensor said. “That’s something we’ve been talking about. We’re still trying to find ourselves. We know what we can be and we’re slowly getting there. (Tonight) with us having to grind it out, be patient and play great defense was a sign of hopefully things to come.”

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