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story.lead_photo.caption Jefferson City's Keith Driver starts to dribble along the baseline as Fort Zumwalt South's Zach Bensing defends on the play during a game earlier this season at Fleming Fieldhouse. Photo by Jason Strickland / News Tribune.

A scouting report won't be difficult to come by for the Jefferson City Jays in this year's holiday tournament at Fleming Fieldhouse.

With the Joe Machens Great 8 Classic turning into a four-team event, on the docket are Father Tolton, Blair Oaks and Helias.

"Whether you have four or eight teams, it still takes a lot of work by our administration and our booster clubs and our custodial staff that have to clean and disinfect between every game," Jefferson City coach Tony Phillips said.

The Jays will take on the Trailblazers on Monday, the Falcons on Tuesday and the Crusaders on Wednesday in the altered format. All are scheduled to tip off at 7:30 p.m.

"There is not a bad team in this tournament," Phillips said.

Jefferson City is off to a 1-5 start to the season with a win against Sedalia Smith-Cotton and losses to Monroe City, Battle, Fort Zumwalt South, Greenwood and Ozark.

"They understand we've played a really tough schedule," Phillips said. " Some of it is to the quality of opponents we've played and some of it is just a focus thing for us."

Jefferson City and Father Tolton haven't faced each other since the 2017-18 season, but there's still plenty of familiarity between the Jays and Trailblazers.

This matchup has happened twice in the Classic since 2016, with Father Tolton winning both.

The Jays defeated Father Tolton by five in 2018 on the road and lost by three in 2017 at home.

"Obviously Jevon (Porter) makes them go," Phillips said of the 6-foot-8 junior. "He'll be handling the ball a lot."

The Jays will get to match up against another tall ball handler when they play against 6-9 forward Luke Northweather and Blair Oaks.

The Jays and Falcons will also meet on the same floor Feb. 12.

"We've been getting dominated on the boards," Phillips said. "A lot of that is we're letting the ball get into the paint. Whether it's off the dribble or what, you let the ball get deep into the paint then rebounding becomes harder. We're not that big and we can't afford to make it even harder."

Then to close out the three-day event, the Jays will have to contain Helias' guard duo of Malcolm Davis and Desmond White.

"It's different challenges every night and I think that's good for us," Phillips said.

Jefferson City's Sterling DeSha is pacing the Jays with about 18 points per game, while Keith Driver is scoring about seven points per game.

In the past three games, Kevion Pendelton is averaging 10 points.

"We've had some time just to go back and work on the fundamentals and focus on the things that we need to do to do better," Phillips said.

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