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With fouls on the downswing, Lafferty has Sparta on the rise


Jacob Lafferty has put himself on track to join his cousin, Dakota Lafferty, in Sparta’s 1,000-point club as soon as late in his sophomore season or early in his junior year.

He put up a double-double more nights than not last season, while earning an All-SWCL Second Team selection. Lafferty averaged 17.3 points and 11 rebounds a game as a freshman.

“I felt I did good for my first year as a post,” he said. “This year, I’m trying to open up my game.”

Lafferty flourished after learning to limit his foul count. The 6-foot-5 center had to make a concentrated adjustment to the heightened attention big men receive from officials. 

“I was fouling out left and right at the beginning of the season,” Lafferty said. “I wasn’t smart with my fouls. At the end of the season, though, I was getting smarter with everything. I was watching my hands and jumping up straight without fouling. My defense has gotten a lot better.”

Coach Deric Link is enjoying seeing Lafferty’s progress.

“Jake has improved a ton,” Link said. “He loves the game, works hard and is a tremendous competitor.”

Lafferty and the Trojans are among the area teams expected to make the biggest jump this season. Sparta, which was 6-17 last season, is fresh from a third-place finish at the Strafford Tournament.

The Trojans take a 2-2 record into their matchup Tuesday with Chadwick. The Trojans downed the Cardinals 37-27 Saturday in the third-place game at the Strafford Tournament.

“We’ve gotten a lot better, I mean a lot better,” Lafferty said. “It’s going to be a fun year.”