AUBURN — The effort was far from their best.
Third-ranked Kentridge survived some ups and downs, but the Chargers managed to stay among the ranks of the unbeaten.
Senior guard Jawan Stepney stepped up with 13 of his game-high 24 points in the fourth quarter as Kentridge survived a valiant effort by host Jefferson for a 60-50 win on Tuesday night in a South Puget Sound League (SPSL) North Division game.
The Chargers (13-0 overall, 9-0 SPSL North) got hot early in the fourth quarter to build a 14-point lead thanks to a 9-3 run. Then, after opening up a 53-39 lead, Kentridge got careless with the ball and committed nine of its 18 turnovers in the fourth.
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The Chargers understand that as the wins mount, so will their opponents’ intensity and desire to beat them.
“It took us a while to get the flow of the game, but we just kept pushing and tried to do things as a team and together,” said Stepney, who added six rebounds and two steals. “Individual stuff wasn’t working. We had to change it up and adjust to how they were playing. We’re deep and we all do what we can do well. We all bring different things.”
That depth came through in the form of backup post player Hussayn Ford, who contributed five points, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots after Danny Torlai and Joe Wainhouse struggled to get going and were in foul trouble.
“People had to step up,” Stepney said. “It’s nice to have a couple bigs on the bench. We all had to do something to fill that gap.”
Jefferson (4-8, 3-5), which committed 23 turnovers, used a 9-1 run to trim the Chargers’ lead to 54-48 on Lonyae Jones’ three-pointer with 2:24 left in the game.
Kentridge closed out the win by sinking 6 of 6 foul shots in the final 2:18.
Senior wing Xavier Scott led the Raiders with 17 points.
Cordae McAfee and Will Osborn each scored 10 for the Raiders, who were without two of their top four scorers.
“I give TJ a lot of credit, and they’ve been through a lot this year after losing some guys,” said Dave Jamison, the Chargers’ 14th-year head coach. “They are playing a lot of young guys. They competed real hard. They played as hard as any team we’ve played against. I’m just happy to get out of here with a win.
“We haven’t been put in that situation much before. I thought we overpassed the ball. We had lots of opportunities to finish the game better.”
Keasean Kelly scored 17 points for the Chargers.