Jefferson's next game is a big one and not just because its against geographical rival Jackson County.
The Lady Dragons (5-3, 0-1) are on the rebound after dropping their subregion opener to North Oconee 47-42 Tuesday night.
Jackson County leads the subregion at 2-0. The teams face each other at 7 p.m. Friday.
While Gibson knows the community will be psyched for the game, he said his group is trying to block all that out. Jefferson is approaching this game like any other, he said, as the Lady Dragons look to get back on track in the subregion.
Jefferson's Layce Rail is fouled by Jasmine Grier Friday in the Lady Dragons' 54-19 victory over Commerce. Photo by Ben Munro
“We’re going to try to not focus on that and just concentrate on what we’re doing,” Gibson said.
Against North Oconee, Jefferson led by three points with four minutes left in the third quarter, but North Oconee answered with a 13-0 run to re-take the lead.
The Lady Dragons came within a bucket with 36 seconds remaining but couldn’t complete the comeback.
Gibson said he was proud of his team for battling back but noted that it afforded to North Oconee too many second-chance points.
“Too many offensive rebounds (for North Oconee),” Gibson said. “That was the difference in the game.”
Skylar Evanson led Jefferson with 12 points. Bailey Boyd added 11. Other top scorers were Bethany Whitlock (seven) and Rachel Goza (five).
Jefferson was coming off a resounding victory over Commerce.
The Lady Dragons dismantled their long-time rivals Friday 54-19 at home after leading 30-8 at the half and 40-10 after three quarters.
Jefferson closed the first quarter of play with a 19-3 run to bury the Lady Tigers early.
“Fortunately, we did get off to a good start,” Gibson said. “It helped our kids settle down a little bit and we took control of the game, and I felt like we did some really good things (Friday) night.”
Kellie Goza led a well-balanced scoring effort for the Lady Dragons with 11 points. Evanson hit three three-pointers and finished with nine points. Layce Rail added seven points and Rachel Goza finished with six.
“I felt like our kids executed offensively,” Gibson said. “The times that we didn’t get good looks coming off our press, we did a good job in the half court and getting the ball into the right spots and getting some easy shots.”
Defensively, the Lady Dragons then held Commerce to just one basket in the second and third quarters each, and Jefferson was able to empty its bench in the fourth quarter.
The 19 points surrendered were a season-low for the Lady Dragons.
“We did a great job defensively,” Gibson said. “I felt we needed to rebound the ball a little bit better. Some of the points they got were on second chance points. But again it’s hard to complain when you hold a team to 19, so obviously if felt like it was a great win for us. Any time you beat your rival, it’s a good win.”
The teams will meet each other against Jan. 8 in Commerce.