For most players, a 23-point, 15-rebound, four-assist game would be something to remember.
For Hammond's Kyle Jefferson, it was justanother game, as the Bears toppled Mount Hebron from the league's unbeaten ranks Friday afternoon at Hammond, 70-60.
"If Jefferson isn't the league MVP, then I don't know who is," Hammond coach Jack Burke said after watching another stellar all-around performance from his 6-3 forward.
The Bears (6-8 overall, 3-3 league) faced an uphill battle. They were coming off straight losses to Howard and Oakland Mills and needed an upset to keep alive theirhopes for the league title.
"We had to play three games in one week and that's tough, and then we had to play the two best teams in 24 hours," Burke said. Mount Hebron (8-6, 5-1) stunned everyone this year by racing to a 5-0 league record, including a win over preseasonfavorite Oakland Mills.
The disciplined Vikings depend greatlyon precision meshing by their players, but Friday that precision wasoff a bit.
"We didn't play good defense at times, and we didn't convert on our turnovers," Mount Hebron coach Chuck Monninger said.
Friday's game was a makeup from a Jan. 11 snow-out, and both teams dragged a bit from having played the night before.
Mount Hebron had beaten last-place Glenelg, while Hammond lost an emotional game to archrival Oakland Mills.
But Friday the Bears had a little more juice than the Vikings, and they shot a lot better. Hammond sank 28-for-48 (60 percent) from the floor, while Mount Hebron was 23-for-55 (42 percent).
While the difference in shooting percentage obviously was decisive, Hammond also enjoyed an overall athletic superiority.
"Our kids are excited about this win but are still disappointed about losing to Oakland Mills last night," Burke said. "We could go 2-18, and if the two wins were against Oakland Mills then the kids would think they had a great season."
Jefferson wasn't the entire show for Hammond. Adam Walker scored 12 points and had 11 rebounds, while Karl Williams scored 12 points and had 10 rebounds.
The game was decided late in the third quarter and early in thefourth quarter, when Hammond made six straight baskets while Mount Hebron missed six straight.
It amounted to a 13-point run for the Bears, who ended it with a 58-42 lead with four minutes, 35 secondsleft in the game.
Jefferson and Williams each made two basketsduring the run, Grant hit a three-pointer and Kris Jefferson sank a jumper.
Mount Hebron, showing the kind of character that has the team leading the league, refused to fold, however, and mounted a 10-point run of its own. Two three-pointers by Bob Sites (11 points) and two free throws each by Derrick Dorsey (12 points) and Andre Johnson (17 points) made it a 58-52 game with 3:45 to play.
Then Jefferson made a crucial basket for Hammond, and Williams sank two freethrows for a 62-52 lead that held up down the stretch.
Mount Hebron had led, 16-13, after the first quarter and appeared to be in control until the 6-3 Jefferson took command.
He scored 10 points at the beginning of the second quarter to push the Bears ahead, 23-20. He scored four more for a 14-point quarter, and Hammond led at halftime, 34-30, after a three-pointer at the buzzer by Mount Hebron's Sites.
Johnson kept the Vikings close with a six-point thirdquarter in which neither team distinguished itself.
Hammond led after three quarters, 47-42, and Jefferson opened the fourth quarter with a dunk that ignited his team early in its decisive 13-point run.
Jefferson played defense against Mount Hebron's 6-3 center Mark Jantac and held him to just four points.
Hammond is just3-3 in the league, but every other team except Mount Hebron has at least two losses, so the Bears aren't giving up hope.
They are hoping that a few more teams will be able to do to Mount Hebron what they did Friday.
Mount Hebron will try to pick up the pieces against a tough Centennial team Wednesday.