By Tuesday, Jefferson will have had 11 days to ponder its loss to Jackson County when it opens play in the Westminster Holiday Classic.
The Dragons hope to work that defeat out of their system during the post-Christmas tournament in Atlanta.
Austin Thompson scored 17 points in Jefferson’s loss to Jackson County.
“I hope our kids have learned something from that,” coach Bolling DuBose said of the loss. “We’re looking forward to the tournament.”
Jefferson begins play Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. against Paideia, a private, Class A school out of Atlanta. The Dragons play again Wednesday and Thursday.
Jefferson’s opening-round foe features a point guard, Kennan Palmore, who averages 25 points a game.
“It will be a tough first-round game,” DuBose said. “Hopefully, we’ll improve on some of the things we’re not doing well.”
The rest of the tournament field includes host Westminster, Brookstone, Pace Academy, Wesleyan, Lovett and Grady. Wesleyan won the Class A title last year and is ranked no. 1 this year. Pace Academy is Class A’s no. 5 ranked team.
“Every team in that tournament is good,” DuBose said.
The veteran coach hopes his team can step up its play in a few areas after some sluggish play.
“We’ve got to defend better and force bad shots and start getting on the boards,” DuBose said.
Jefferson then gets four days off after the tournament before resuming subregion play against Hart County Jan. 4. DuBose thinks the caliber and timing of this tournament will help.
“I like to play in a tournament after Christmas because you’re more ready to move into your subregion games,” DuBose said. “You don’t have as long a layoff.”
DuBose said his team has to be ready for Hart County, which he feels is the team to beat in the Region 8-AA South subregion. Adding to the pressure of that game is that Jefferson now has a subregion loss after falling to Jackson County.
“We can’t afford to lose any more (subregion games) right now,” DuBose said.