The Jefferson J-Hawks went 3-1 this past week in the 205 Tip-Off Classic, earning wins over Chicago area powers Chicago St. Rita and Elgin Larkin and leading the defending 4A state champion Whitney Young Dolphins for 2 1/2 quarters.

It was how the J-Hawks evolved in each game that shows why Jefferson is the favorite to win its first NIC-10 title since 2003-2004.

Against Whitney Young, Jyaire Robinson was hot and led the J-Hawks with 21 points while Quillen Dixon and Terry Ford added 17. MyQuion Garrett struggled against athletes taller than him who are as quick.

Dixon took over against an over-matched Chicago Perspectives team with 24 points and Garrett rebounded to score 22.

Robinson, Dixon and Garrett all were off early against Chicago St. Rita and Terry Ford exploded with eight three-pointers and 32 points to lead Jefferson.

Against Elgin Larkin, Dixon went scoreless and got hurt, Ford wasn't as on fire from the outside so the J-Hawks turned to Garrett, who was too fast for Larkin's big men to handle. Garrett responded with 26 points, outscoring Larkin's 6-10 center Jalen Shaw, who had 21.

The J-Hawks looked, at least this weekend, to be similar in makeup as the 2014 Auburn Knights, who overwhelmed the conference in a 16-0 run behind four stars. That team was made up of Laytwan Porter, Nylek Cobb, Antoine Pittman and Delundre Dixon, who took turns in starring roles.

Conference play begins Wednesday.