Jefferson jockeying for position in PAL Tournament 

click to enlarge High hopes: Guard Taylor Collins and Jefferson are eyeing another trip to the Central Coast Section playoffs. - JOSEPH SCHELL/SPECIAL TO THE SF EXAMINER
  • joseph schell/special to the sf examiner
  • High hopes: Guard Taylor Collins and Jefferson are eyeing another trip to the Central Coast Section playoffs.

The Jefferson girls’ basketball team was off to a strong start in league before dropping two straight and is now in a battle for positioning in the PAL Tournament.

“It all comes down to two things: turnovers and controlling the boards,” Jefferson coach John Moore said. “If we can control the boards, the sky’s the limit for this basketball team.”

Heading into the weekend, Jefferson won its first three PAL Ocean games, but has losses to Westmoor and Aragon — the two teams currently in front of the Indians.

“In those first three games, we were able to get out and run more,” Moore said. “What we survive on is getting the other team to make mistakes.”

The Indians picked up two overtime victories in their first two games proving that the margin for victory is slim.

“There’s not much difference between the teams,” Moore said. “If we play the way we should be playing, in the next five games we should go 4-1. If we don’t, we could go 1-4. The teams that are less consistent lose.”

Jefferson was without one of its starters and still had its opportunities to beat Westmoor — which sits in second place — and the team knows it can’t let those opportunities slip away.

“I thought we played well enough to beat Westmoor. I don’t know of anybody who has held Westmoor to 40 points,” Moore said. “If we would have capitalized on six to eight layups that we missed, we probably [would have] beat them.”

The Indians have relied on senior guards Sammy Martinez and Taylor Collins.

“My two guards are really good at finishing. They have good inside and outside games,” Moore said. “If they get out and do what they can do, we are successful.”

But the team has had to overcome its youth.

This season’s team is much different from last year’s, which was eliminated in the first round of the CCS Division III playoffs.

“Last year’s team was super mature. [Martinez and Collins] fell into place because they wanted to win,” Moore said. “It changes the whole dynamic of the team. You have to control things a little differently, have to handle things a little differently.”

By being one of the top two teams in the league, Jefferson would avoid playing in the opening round of the PAL Tournament in February. But Moore thinks it wouldn’t affect his team either way.

“I sometimes feel the more games we play, the better off we are,” Moore said. “We could play a great game or we could just come out and not [be] the team we’re capable of being.”

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