Jackson County started the season with four-straight losses. Now it owns a winning streak nearly as long.
Kolin Zimmer scored 20 points and knocked down two key free throws late Tuesday to help Jackson County (3-4) beat Stephens County for its third-consecutive victory.
“It’s big for these kids to win three in a row,” coach Britt Beaver said. “That’s a scrappy team that we played. They could jump out of the gym … (We) really stepped up with our composure at the end of the game.”
Ben Weaver added nine points, while Alex Crawford finished with eight. Crawford hit two threes and had a key steal late as Panthers put game away.
Jarvis Shaw had seven points.
Jackson County, which led 28-22 at the half, hit 13-of-16 free throws in the fourth quarter.
The Panthers open up subregion play Friday against North Oconee. Jackson County also returns home after seven straight road games to start the season.
“Now we got into our home opener and subregion opener with three straight wins,” Beaver said.
Beaver said his team has shown a lot resolve in getting back on track after an 0-4 start.
“The kids worked so hard in the offseason, and them bam, you lose those four games,” Beaver said. “But they just kept working … We’re proud of these kids to turn it around and bounce back.”
Jackson County’s winning streak started over the weekend as the Panthers beat Banks County 54-49 Saturday after getting into the win column Friday with a 58-28 shelling of Fannin County.
In the Panthers’ five-point win over nearby Banks County, Crawford and Zimmer both hit three 3-pointers and finished with 11 points each. Post player Jared Scott scored 10 points while Shaw finished with 10 as well.
After being tied with Banks County at the half, Jackson County trailed most of the third quarter before it took a 38-35 lead into the fourth quarter en route to its second-straight victory.
In addition to his 11 points, Crawford had five steals and picked up seven rebounds. In fact, the point guard was Jackson County’s leading rebounder at the half.
Jackson County led 12-5 after a quarter before Banks County tie the contest at 24 at the break.
Beaver noted that his team had four players finish in double figures.
“That’s what we said going into the season, that it was going to be spread out,” Beaver said.
A night earlier, Jackson County took out the frustration of its season-opening four-game losing streak on Fannin County, routing Rebels by 30 points.
Zimmer led Jackson County with 16 points, while Shaw added 11 as the Panthers obliterated a fellow Region 8-AA team. Xavier Harper chipped in nine points and Crawford finished with eight for the Panthers, who led 27-15 at the half.
Jackson County allowed just 13 second-half points in the blowout and played strong offensively.
“We shot the ball a lot better,” Beaver said.
Particularly in the paint. Jackson County struggled with its inside scoring during the first two games but not on Friday night against Fannin County.
“It makes a big difference when shots right in front of the basket starting going in,” Beaver said.
Jackson County, which hit five three-pointers, also went 9-of-11 at the charity stripe.