CROSS RIVER, N.Y. – John Jay opened their 2019-2020 season with a 70-53 loss to visiting Horace Greeley on Thursday, Dec. 5.

Even so, the 17-point loss didn’t have coach Pat Heaton hitting the panic button.

“First game,” Heaton said. “We have a lot of new players, and we’re just trying to figure things out.”

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Quakers center Nick Townsend gave the Indians trouble all night.

“He does what he does well,” Heaton said.

On top of his scoring and rebounding, Townsend ran the floor on the break, shot from the outside, and went off the dribble to make plays for his teammates and himself.

John Jay took a 3-0 lead on a three-pointer from Mason DiFalco. But they surrendered it moments later and never regained it.

Early in the game, Greeley’s Townsend created space with a little shake and bake. After missing his jumper, the big man would not be denied on the put back. The sequence foretold the rest of the night for John Jay.

“We didn’t shoot well and didn’t rebound well,” Heaton said.

But Shane Martinsen could flex his muscle, too, and his roll to the hoop allowed John Jay to hold tight at 11-5 after one quarter. Later, a corner three from Martinsen, who had a team high 13 points, inched the home team a little closer at 14-9.

Once again, though, the Indians didn’t have an answer for Townsend, who tallied six more of his 26 points to open the lead to 20-9. The teams traded baskets for the next few minutes, and a DiFalco layup off the steal kept a respectable 26-18 halftime score.

After the intermission, Townsend powered the Quakers to a 32-19 lead. The margin never got smaller, but Heaton was still looking optimistically to their road game scheduled at Roosevelt at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday (Dec. 10).

“It’s always a competitive game,” he concluded.

John Jay has a busy week ahead. They’re also scheduled to take on Clarkstown South at home Thursday (Dec. 12) Hamilton on Friday (Dec. 13) in the first round of the Fox Lane tournament, either the consolation or championship game on the Fox Lane tournament on Saturday (Dec. 14) and Beacon at home on Tuesday (Dec. 17).