Aldie, Va. — Jalen and James Jasper picked up right where they left off. The John Champe High School senior guards took the Cedar Run District by storm last year and the duo both turned in double digit scoring efforts in their second game of the season—a 76-56 win over perennial VHSL 5A power Potomac Falls on December 28 in Aldie.
“Having [Jalen and James] is a coach’s dream. They’re great leaders, they want to see everyone on the team do well, they want to see the program and the school do well,” Webb said. “Most importantly, they lead by example. What they can give their peers is something that we as coaches have a hard time trying to do. We tell kids where to go and what to do, but when you have guys in the huddle and on the floor playing unselfish as they are, it’s a luxury to have.”
The game started off extremely even, with neither side creating any sort of tangible lead.
Led by center Jake Mancuso, Potomac Falls dominated the boards early, however, John Champe started to pull away in the second quarter, led offensively by the Jasper twins. Jalen and James provide a unique threat to a John Champe offense that has no trouble scoring points.
As the game started to develop, John Champe started to increase their lead by suffocating the Panthers on defense causing countless turnovers.
“We knew we were playing against a tactician in Coach Hawes, so we just wanted to make sure we defend all five guys every play,” John Champe head coach Walter Webb said.
Both Jasper twins had a great game defensively, notching several steals each while converting those into fastbreak layups.
“We just knew that it starts on the defensive end,” James Jasper said. “We have to get it done on that end before we transition on offense.”
John Champe junior forward Ryan Grzesiak finished with 5 blocks, showing that the Knights were able to disrupt the Panthers on the perimeter and inside.
“We weren’t sharp with the basketball. We weren’t cutting hard, and we weren’t getting open,” Potomac Falls head coach Jeff Hawes said. “We couldn’t get into any sort of rhythm.”
The Jasper twins continued to control the tempo on both ends of the floor in the second half, making Potomac Falls pay for their lack of ball security with fastbreak layups and corner threes.
The Knights consistently shot the ball well, and the Jasper twins did a great job at finding their open teammates throughout the game. The Knights shooting depth created an incredibly potent scoring attack, one that Jalen Jasper says allowed him and his brother to be at their best.
“We’re aggressive, we attack the rim, we set good screens, and everyone gets each other open when we get trapped,” Jalen said.
John Champe will look to stay hot when they host rival Freedom on December 30 in Aldie. Potomac Falls will look to bounce back when they host Stone Bridge on the same night.
“One day at a time,” Webb said. “We’re going to stay humble and hungry with the intention of winning every night we go out.”