JEFFERSON NOTCHED a major subregion win Friday, but the non-region, holiday tournament action that followed wasn’t as kind.
After toppling rival Jackson County in a huge Region 8-AA South clash, the Lady Dragons dropped consecutive games to Chestatee (52-19) Monday and West Hall (34-31) Tuesday in the Lanierland Holiday Tournament.
Kellie Goza scored 10 points in Jefferson's 54-52 victory over Jackson County. Photo by Ben Munro
Both losses were tough for different reasons.
Jefferson (6-5) was overwhelmed against Chestatee, scoring just seven first-half points. Against West Hall, the Lady Dragons saw a go-ahead basket late waved off in a three-point loss. Jefferson was scheduled to play today at noon in the final day of the event.
“We like to have a Christmas tournament and work on our stuff and try to improve and we feel like we did,” coach Jason Gibson said following the West Hall loss.
As maddening as the close Tuesday setback was, Jefferson did show some improvement after getting blown out the day before.
Jefferson ran its offense well and got good looks at the basket against West Hall, Gibson said. Those shots just didn’t fall.
“I’m not disappointed in the effort we gave,” Gibson said. “I would have liked a little more focus and us doing more of the little things … But big picture, I think we’ve improved.”
At the same time, Jefferson would have liked to have another win, too.
With the Lady Dragons trailing 32-31 with 17 seconds left, Skylar Evanson converted a go-ahead layup off a backdoor cut but was called for a questionable charge, negating the basket.
“We couldn’t have done a better job executing that play,” Gibson said.
Jefferson had a chance to put away West Hall early with a 15-3 lead in the second quarter.
“Then we just couldn’t make a shot,” Gibson said.
Jefferson led just 17-14 at the half, then trailed 24-21 heading into the fourth quarter. A big difference came at the three-point line. Jefferson went 0-for-11, while West Hall hit seven treys. The Lady Spartans made just two buckets inside the three-point arc.
Kellie Goza finished with 13 points to lead the Lady Dragons. Evanson added 11.
As far as the lopsided loss the previous day, perhaps tip off time – 9 a.m. – explained why Gibson felt his team was “very asleep” in the 33-point setback to Chestatee.
“I’m just glad we don’t play any of our region games at 9 a.m.,” Gibson said.
Evanson and Rachel Goza found themselves in foul trouble early, leaving three sophomores and two freshmen on the court against Class AAA’s no. 3 team for much of the game.
Bailey Boyd led Jefferson with seven points.
Using its considerable size advantage, Chestatee led 31-7 at the half and 41-17 after three quarters en route to the big win.
“The score of the game is not indicative of the caliber of team we can be,” Gibson said.
Gibson pointed to several factors in the loss – turnovers, a lack of rebounding and allowing Chestatee too many second-chance points.
“I hope our kids will learn from (Monday),” Gibson said.
Jefferson resumes its season and subregion schedule Jan. 4 against Hart County, meaning the Lady Dragons will have a 12-day break from action.
“I think all the kids look forward to the holidays … I think it will be good for them to have a couple days off and look back at the first part of the season,” Gibson said.