A SEASON that could have possibly been on the brink of disaster a couple of months ago is now on the brink of state.
Jefferson (15-11) trounced Fannin County 79-56 Tuesday in the opening round of the region tournament in Hartwell — its seventh victory in a row — to pull the Dragons (seeded third out of the 8-AA South subregion) to within one victory of the Class AA postseason.
Coach Bolling DuBose’s team has now won nine of its last 11 since getting drilled by Commerce 67-46 Jan. 8.
“I’m really proud of them ... They’ve responded very well,” DuBose said.
Jefferson faces North no.2 seed Rabun County (16-9) Thursday at 4 p.m. at Hart County for the right to advance to the state tournament.
David Watson scored 20 points in Tuesday’s win to lead a quartet of Jefferson scores with double figures. Dre Clarke added 16 while Joe Boyd threw in 12 and Austin Thompson finished with 11.
Leading 36-24 at the half, Jefferson broke the game open in the third quarter thanks in part to an un-guarded Joe Boyd, who canned four three-pointers in the third period.
When Fannin County turned its attention toward Boyd, it opened up the middle of Jefferson’s offense and the Dragon ran the lead up to 31 points at one point in the fourth quarter.
“I thought in the second half we played really well,” DuBose said.
Now, the Dragons must upset Rabun County, which has been a tough team to figure at times this season. The Wildcats walloped Hart County 92-55 earlier this year but then lost to Elbert County by 76-64 the very next game.
Nevertheless, Rabun County is armed with the best shooter in the region, Tanner Plemmons who transferred in from a high school in North Carolina.
“We’ll have to play really well to beat them,” DuBose said. “And our kids know that.”