Second-Half Surge Lifts John Jay Over Peekskill

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. - Following a first half in which the John Jay-Cross River girl’s basketball team felt it did not play well, the Indians were in good spirits.

“Coach felt that if we played like we did and we were only down two points, then we had a good feeling going into the second half,” senior Reagan Knox said.

John Jay was a totally different team in the second half and the result was the ninth-seeded Indians dethroning defending state Class A champion, Peekskill, 47-38 in a Section 1 Class A championship first-round game, Friday.

Knox scored 19 of her game-high 24 points in the second half as John Jay (14-5) outscored Peekskill, 28-17. Lauren Murray added seven points and seven rebounds and Sarah Lang netted six points and 10 rebounds. John Jay travels to top-seeded Pearl River for a quarterfinal, Wednesday, at a time to be determined.

“The third quarter is when everything clicked for us,” Knox said. “We calmed down and started to push the ball.”

John Jay also took full advantage of Asia Jackson’s foul trouble. The Peekskill star guard picked up her fourth foul two minutes into the third quarter. Peekskill was leading by one, 24-23, when she went to the bench with 4:45 in the third quarter. Knox swished a 3-pointer with 3:06 remaining in the third, giving John Jay the lead, 27-24, for good. The Indians would close the quarter with a 12-5 run.

“When she went out, we picked it up and were even more ready to go,” Knox said. “We were able to force Peekskill into turnovers which resulted in points for us.”

Jackson, who finished with 10 points, re-entered the game in the fourth quarter and led a Peekskill surge. Twice the Red Devils closed the gap to four points - at 39-35 and 42-38 - but the Indians refused to give in.

“Coach called time outs at the right time to calm us down,” Knox said. “We've been in close games, like this, this season. We just had to cut down on our turnovers and relax with the ball.”

John Jay opened the fourth quarter with four consecutive turnovers and a missed shot. After coach Greg Blake gave his girls a breather, they rebounded.

When Peekskill drew within four - 42-38 - on a Morgan Beechum 3-pointer with 5:04 on the clock, it would be the Red Devils’ final points. Peekskill’s last gasp ended when Jackson fouled out with 2:55 remaining.

“It’s amazing,” said Knox of the win. “I have been on varsity for four years and we have never been this far before. To do this with a great group of girls and to do it together, is unreal for us.”

Latisha Clark also had 10 points and finished with six rebounds for Peekskill.

John Jay-Cross River 11 8 20 8 -- 47Peekskill 15 6 8 9 -- 38

John Jay-Cross River (47) -- Sarah Lang 1-4-6, Delaney Spencer 2-0-4, Sydney Glenn 2-2-6, Lauren Murray 2-2-7, Raegan Knox 10-1-24, Jen Oddo 0-0-0, Courtney Knox 0-0-0, Sasha Puglisi 0-0-0. Totals: 17-9-47. Peekskill (38) -- Latisha Clarke 5-0-10, Shauna Iton 0-0-0, Lanay Rodney 3-2-10, Asia Jackson 4-1-10, Shonae Draper 1-1-3, Dottie Bradshaw 0-0-0, Aubrey Dabbs 0-0-0, Morgan Beechum 1-0-3. Totals: 14-4-38. 3-point goals -- JJCR: R. Knox 3, Murray; Pk: Rodney 2, A. Jackson, Beechum.

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