MOUNT STERLING — It wasn't a scoreboard malfunction.
No. 4 Jeffersontown had only 10 points in the first half against No. 8 Tates Creek in the featured game of the Joe B. Hall Prep Classic at Montgomery County on Saturday night.
Tates Creek led 24-10 at halftime and went on to beat the injury-riddled Chargers 57-44 for its ninth consecutive victory.
"We played Tates Creek basketball by playing great team defense and showed we can play with anybody in the state," said senior Marcellus Barksdale, who had 15 points and six rebounds.
Senior Ryan Fucci led the winners with 20 points, 16 coming in the second half when the Commodores spread the floor and pushed its lead to as many as 18 points.
Kendale Mack added 10 points, all in the second half.
"I'm really proud of the way our guys stepped up to the challenge," Coach Wayne Breeden said. "We're learning how to play the game, how to maximize possessions by taking great shots when we get a lead.
"It was an outstanding team effort tonight."
Jeffersontown, which was No. 1 in the pre-season and went undefeated through the King of the Bluegrass, hasn't been the same team since it was hit by two key injuries.
Zach Price, a 6-foot-10 University of Louisville signee, has missed the last five games with a serious thigh bruise.
And Tony Kimbro Jr. was sidelined by a strained knee ligament for four games. He returned to play in a reserve role against Tates Creek, but was mostly ineffective in scoring just two points.
"We're a shell of the team that won the King of the Bluegrass," Coach Jeff Morrow said. "But you can't make excuses. Our other guys have to do a better job."
Jeffersontown looked awful in the first half against Tates Creek. It missed 13 of 16 shots while scoring five points in each of the first two quarters.
"I don't know if I've ever coached a team that had only 10 points in a half," Morrow said. "We settled for way too many jump shots."
Just as it did in losing to Bullitt East in the Louisville Invitational Tournament in its last outing, Jeffersontown fell into a deep hole early and couldn't dig itself out.
Harry Cross (10 points) was the only Charger in double figures.
Morrow was impressed by Tates Creek.
"Very disciplined and very smart," he said. "Fucci and Barksdale have high basketball IQs, and the guys around them do their jobs well."
Breeden said beating Jeffersontown will help his team's confidence, but not any more than holding its own in its own region.
"This game gives us the feeling that we are improving and can compete against the elite teams in the state," he said. "But every night in the 11th Region is a battle, and that's prepared us for games like this.
"But the good thing is, I still see a lot of room for improvement."
JEFFERSONTOWN (15-3) — Dorsey 4, Cross 10, Russell 6, Ross 8, Hagan 5, Kimbro 2, Jackson 4, Barbee 2, Coleman 3.
TATES CREEK (14-2) — Fucci 20, Barksdale 15, Bradley 4, Mack 10, Gibson 6, McFarland 2.
Jeffersontown 5 5 15 19—44
Tates Creek 6 18 15 18—57