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The Jefferson Falcons stole a 61-58 win over the Wallkill Valley Rangers in a barn burner this Friday night. It was a game with a lot of back and forth action that Jefferson would come out to prevail after there crushing defeat against Sparta less than a week ago.

The first quarter was all Rangers for the first 7 minutes, as they looked in control with a 15-7 lead. The last minute of the quarter was when junior forward Matthew Johnson began to heat up hitting back to back three-pointer capping off the 1st quarter with Wallkill Valley leading 15-13.

The second quarter was a true dog fight in this conference match-up. The quarter contained 5 lead changes but Wallkill would hold onto a slim 26-24 lead as the teams headed into the halftime locker rooms.

The third quarter had a very similar story-line to the second with a lot of back and forth action. The Falcons would come out on top of that action leading 41-38 going into the final quarter.

The fourth quarter continued a tight and fast paced game. The Rangers hung around with the Falcons led by junior Reyes Madera who tallied 8 points in the fourth quarter alone. With a tie game going into the final two minutes, Johnson hit a huge bucket and got the foul to complete the 3 point play. This got the Falcons a three point lead going into the final minute. In the final minute senior guard Joe Batelli added two pairs of free throws to get the Falcons a 58-53 lead. However the Rangers wouldn’t be turned down without a fight, as Madera and senior guard Mason White knocked down two prayer threes late. However, it was too little too late for the Ranger as they suffered a 61-58 loss in the hands of Jefferson.

“It was a tough loss against Sparta but this was a more important game because it was a league game and our goal is to win the league so we knew coming in here against a tough Wallkill team it was going to be a tough task and it was, it was a great high school game, and we were lucky enough to get the win,” Coach Digennaro said, on the win. “We made some huge foul shots down the stretch and also our defense was a big help down the stretch for us to get the win, and that was really big for us,” Digennaro said on pulling out the nail biting victory.

“It felt good, my teammates just getting me the ball, but hopefully we improve from here just wanna keep helping the team,” said junior Matthew Johnson on topping his career high with 26 points on the night.

“Felt great we needed the free throws to win the game, and if we don’t hit those it could really go either way,” said senior Joe Batelli on his 6-6 mark from the free throw line in the fourth quarter. “This was a great conference win, Wallkill is a great team in conference and they are one of our top competitors for the conference and it was just good getting a win at their place.”

Johnson led the Falcons with 26 points as Batelli wasn’t too far behind with 18. As for the Rangers they were led by senior Zane Crum who tallied 13 and Reyes Madera with 12.

The Rangers get another home game against Newton on the upcoming Wednesday looking to avenge their defeat. As the Falcons head out to Pequonnock Monday night aiming to stay hot.

Box Score

Jefferson 13 11 17 20 61
Wallkill Valley 15 13 10 20 58

Johnny Knox is an intern at Morris Sussex Sports specializing in sports journalism. He's also a junior at Jefferson HS where he is also a varsity baseball player.

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