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Jays stage huge rally, startle defending Class 3 state champ

The Jefferson City Jays knocked off Northwest Academy 66-64 on Friday night. (Rod Smith/KRCG13)

JEFFERSON CITY --- Defeating Sedalia Smith-Cotton is one thing.

Defeating a defending state champion --- with seven returning seniors, no less --- is another.

To put it another way: You only have one chance to make a first impression --- and Mark Anderson is doing just fine, thanks.

In the second game for the first-year head coach, the Jefferson City Jays finished the game with a 19-8 flurry to startle the Northwest Academy Hornets 66-64 on Friday night at Fleming Fieldhouse.

This was not only a signature win for Anderson, but it was a signature for a program trying to rebound from last season's 10-16 disappointment.

The Jays (2-0) had opened the season with 22-point rout of Smith-Cotton 10 days earlier, but they knew this one would be anything but easy.

Especially since the Hornets (2-3) know how to win when it counts the most. Last season's team, which featured many of these same players, was 10-10 late in the regular season before rattling off 11 consecutive wins to capture the Class 3 state championship.

On this night, however, the Hornets were in charge from almost the opening tip --- until it counted most.

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