Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Impressive Turnaround by Tj

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Impressive Turnaround by Tj

Article excerpt

Thomas Jefferson has no superstars, just three seniors and is coming off its worst season in more than a decade, yet with the regular season winding down, the Jaguars have a shot at winning a section title.

Go figure.

The Jaguars sport a 7-4 section record, slotting them behind Steel Valley (8-2) in the Class AAA Section 4 standings. Those teams square off tonight at Steel Valley. Thomas Jefferson defeated Steel Valley, 63-56, on Jan. 5. Thomas Jefferson traveled to Belle Vernon Tuesday, while Steel Valley hosted Elizabeth Forward Tuesday prior to going to Ringgold last night.

"The kids have really bought into their roles," coach Dom DeCicco said. "We knew it was going to be a process because we are young, but I think the seniors have helped the younger kids along. The kids are starting to believe."

Thomas Jefferson (9-9 overall) is led by senior shooting guard C.J. Mason, a two-year starter who leads the team in scoring with 14 points per game. Joining him in the starting lineup are senior Steve Dunlap and juniors Ryan Cusick, Nick Freiwald and Justin Farrell.

Two of the team's three section losses have come by one point - at Laurel Highlands and at Elizabeth Forward - but the Jaguars came into the week on a four-game winning streak.

Key player injured

If the Chartiers-Houston girls are to make another deep run in the postseason, the Bucs will have to do it without their best player.

Alexa Williamson, a 6-foot-1 sophomore center, will miss the rest of the season after tearing the ACL in her right knee. Williamson sustained the injury in a Dec. 30 game against Farrell and had surgery last Friday. Williamson, an all-section pick last season, was averaging a team-best 19.4 points per game.

"I know it's hard on the kids and hard on their spirits," coach Laura Montecalvo said. …

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