Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
CHILLICOTHE — On a daily basis, Mike Maughmer sends his son Jayvon a text message filled to the brim with life advice. Jayvon reads it, thinks on it and applies it to his everyday routine. It’s been that way since he can remember.
“My dad sends a motivational quote every day,” Jayvon says. “Keep pushing, keep going, keep working hard. Stuff like that.”
When Jayvon started his junior basketball season in a slump — as his Cavaliers went just 4-3 in their first seven contests — those texts took on a role of elevated importance.
So to get out of the rut, the 6-foot-5 wing did exactly what each motivational message instructed him to do … he kept pushing, kept going, kept working hard and, most importantly, kept shooting.
“It came with coaches telling me to keep shooting and keep going to the rim,” Jayvon said. “It’s a next play mindset. If you miss a shot? Next play. It’ll go in.”
The texts are still delivered daily to Jayvon’s inbox. That hasn’t changed.
However, shots have now started to fall, more scoring opportunities have presented themselves, and Chillicothe’s win total has started to rise rapidly.
After a 56-50 loss to Logan on Dec. 15, the Cavaliers ripped off four straight victories over Ironton, Jackson, Waverly and Hillsboro. This past Wednesday, they suffered a 70-67 loss to undefeated Canal Winchester but continued show signs of significant improvement.
While Jayvon and his teammates keep gelling together, he sees no reason why his team can’t reach each and every one of their goals.
“The way we’re playing now, we started off a little slow, but we’re starting to get into the swing of things,” Jayvon said. “We’re starting to play harder and our defense is starting to play better. I think we can win every one of our remaining conference games. We’re trying to stay on top. Tournament wise, I think we can go pretty far. Our goal is to get to a district final.”
Last season, the Cavaliers saw their season end in a Division I district semifinal at the hands of Hilliard Bradley. But the 45-30 loss wasn’t the biggest punch in the gut. Instead, it was the loss of a talented senior class that included Jayvon’s brother, Branden.
So, with Branden gone, Jayvon knew he was going to have to take his game to the next level.
“Knowing that Branden’s gone, I knew I had to create more of my own shots,” Jayvon said. “I couldn’t rely on him and [2018 graduate] Simon [Roderick] driving. That’s also the same with [point guard] Trey [Beard] and the other guys. They have to look to create because they’re starting to play more now. So we knew that coming in.”
He also knew taking over the team’s main scoring duties meant drawing double teams, deciphering defenses and getting his teammates more involved.
But when it’s time to lace up the shoestrings and go to work, you punch in your timesheet.
“You know you have to get your teammates involved,” Jayvon said. “You don’t want to be a ball hog. But you also know that sometimes, you have to put your team on your back and just go off. Sometimes, you have to do that, too.”
Through 12 games, Maughmer is averaging 14.2 points per outing alongside 6.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists. Balanced numbers like those are why he’s being looked at by multiple colleges.
“Concord and Cedarville have offered,” he said. “Fairmont State has looked at me, Youngstown State, William & Mary, West Liberty and Dayton have all talked to me a bit. Division I doesn’t really matter to me. It’s more of where I fit in with the players, coaches and the entire environment. I want to get playing time as well. I don’t want to sit the bench until my junior year.”
Rest assured, Maughmer will be continuing his hoops career somewhere. But no matter where that is, he’ll have all the support he’ll ever need.
“My parents are always supporting me, always coming to all the games,” Jayvon said. “Coach [Eric Huffer] is always telling me to keep going. I’m really thankful for that.”
While a college decision looms, it’s something Jayvon has plenty of time to make. Until then, he’s focused on simply getting better, winning an FAC title and making a long tourney run.
“I’m planning on waiting it out until the middle of my senior year to make a college decision,” he said. “I know I’ve got a lot I can improve on before then. It all starts in practice with my teammates always pushing me to get better and always going the extra mile to get me to where I want to be. We want to go far this year and that’s what we’re focused on.”