Jackson County's five-game winning streak ended Tuesday, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at the offensive stat sheet.
The Panthers (5-5, 1-1) hit 15 three-pointers and went 15-of-19 from the free throw line in an 88-79 loss to Hart County.
Jackson County's Ben Weaver battles for a rebound Saturday in the Panthers' 75-56 victory. Photo by Ben Munro
Jackson County has scored at least 75 points in its last two ball games and combined for 26 three-pointers in its last two outings.
The Panthers must recover in time for Friday’s game with Jefferson as Jackson County renews a cross-town rivalry with the Dragons.
“We’re a little bit leg weary right now .... Jefferson is every bit the team Hart County is,” Jackson County coach Britt Beaver said.
The Panthers’ struggles in the rebounding department kept it from winning their sixth-straight contest Tuesday.
“We got killed on the boards,” Beaver said.
Jackson County’s defense also struggled as the Panthers gave up a season-high 88 points.
“We had a breakdown defensively,” Beaver said. “We did not play the kind of defense that we’ve been playing.”
Kolin Zimmer had no problems on the offensive end hitting seven three-pointers and scoring a season-high 29 points in the loss. Logan Smith and Alex Crawford each hit three three-pointers as Jackson County pushed Hart County for four quarters Tuesday.
Smith finished with 11 points and Crawford had 10. Jackson County had another player in double figures, Jarvis Shaw, who scored 13 points before leaving in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury.
Though Jackson County’s winning streak ended at five games, that stretch of victories resuscitated its season after an 0-4 start. In fact, Jackson County’s hoops team equaled its win total from last year within a matter of just eight days.
The hot-shooting Panthers won their fifth-straight game Saturday, walloping Banks County 75-56 behind the strength of 11 three-pointers.
“To start 0-4 and to turn around and win five-straight, they’ve never quit,” coach Beaver said.
Four Jackson County players reached double figures Saturday, led by Crawford’s 19 as the Panthers broke the 70-point mark for the first time this season.
Crawford hit five three-pointers and Zimmer added four more to pace the Panthers.
Zimmer, who transferred to Jackson County this year, finished with 17 points. Shaw added 15 points and Ben Weaver finished with 10.
Jackson County led by as much as 30 in the fourth quarter as it emptied its bench and added to its longest winning streak in recent memory.
“The biggest thing is that it’s just been a team effort,” Beaver said Saturday after that win. “We’ve gotten such great minutes off the bench. Even guys who didn’t score a lot of points today (Saturday) came up with big stops and big steals … This one is fun.”
Zimmer had the hot hand a night earlier, scoring 15 points as Jackson County earned a 45-37 subregion victory over North Oconee Friday.
“The kids kind of battled back,” Beaver said of the win. “We got in a little rut, and it was a good chance to see what we’re made of. They responded well..”
Jared Scott added 12 as Jackson County returned home game after a grueling stretch of seven road games to start the season.