BROOMFIELD — For many on the Jefferson Academy girls basketball team, winning is all they know.
The team lost a number of key seniors from last year's team that finished with a 17-7 record, but the girls coming in to fill their spots were on the JV team that went undefeated during the regular season. Their success, coupled with returning experience for head coach Crystal Deichert, has the Jaguars feeling optimistic about their chances to win this year.
"Those girls that were on JV last year went undefeated, beating tough teams like Lutheran and all," Deichert said. "We have a lot of talent, but we have to get the puzzle pieces to fall together and learn how to play with each other at the varsity level."
Each game serves as a chance for the Jaguars to grow together and complete the winning formula — even a game like Friday night, where the Jaguars defeated a struggling Bruce Randolph Grizzlies team by a score of 70-6 in the opening round of the Jefferson Academy tournament.
"The biggest challenge for us (tonight) was mental toughness," Deichert said. "We have a tendency to get a little squirrely and play to our opponents' level. Tonight's challenge was to stay disciplined and how to do the little things on offense and defense."
Deichert saw her team step up to that challenge as they never let up to the Grizzlies. Becka Ballard led the way with 17 points, scoring from the 3-point line and at the rim with layups off of turnovers. Everyone got the chance to play, resulting in 12 players scoring for the Jaguars.
The month of December is one Deichert is using to examine her team more closely as they try to find the right formula for success.
"You can do some things in practice, but when you're in game situations it's different," Deichert said. "We have a lot of learning to do. They have played varsity minutes, but when there isn't someone else you can lean on, you have to figure out who to lean on and how to lean on them. That's the puzzle piece that's hard to put together."
The next test for the Jaguars will come Saturday afternoon in the championship game of their home tournament versus the Lyons Lions (2-1). Like the Jaguars, Lyons won decisively 62-36 over the Sheridan Rams to advance.
"(Lyons) looked really good today," Deichert said. "Trying to go back-to-back, this will be our first chance this year to see what we do. We won by a lot, so we have to not let that get into our heads and come back ready to go tomorrow."
Jefferson Academy 70, Bruce Randolph 6
At Jefferson Academy School
Jefferson Academy (2-1)
Becka Ballard 7 0-0 16, Jordan Neely 3 2-2 8, Rachel Moreno 3 0-0 6, Laura Riley 3 0-0 6, Abby McAnally 2 2-6 6, Brianna Lewis 2 1-2 5, Rylee Abrams 2 0-0 5, Aaliyah Robinson 2 0-0 4, Makayla Kinard 2 0-0 4, Brooklynn Kirkpatrick 2 0-0 4, Brandi Chavez 2 0-0 4, Lily Thimsen 1 0-0 2.
Score by quarters:Bruce Randolph (0-3) 0 2 2 2 — 6
3-point field goals — Jefferson Academy (3): Ballard 2, Abrams.