Outside shooting ‘ban’ leads to better shot selection for Dragons
FRUSTRATED with his team’s propensity to settle for too many three-pointers, Jefferson coach Bolling DuBose came up with a way to curb the excessive outside shooting for Tuesday’s game with North Oconee.
“I said if you shoot a three-pointer in the first half, you’re coming out,” DuBose said. “We’re going to the basket.”
It worked. The Dragons (4-4, 1-0) got the ball inside to post player Will Puckett, who scored 16 points, as Jefferson won 66-56.
Coming off a largely disappointing loss to Commerce, Jefferson set the tone early, taking the ball to the basket and grabbing a 16-6 lead after a quarter.
“It was the best first quarter we’ve had all year,” DuBose said.
After a lackluster second quarter, Jefferson returned to attacking the basket in the third quarter and outscored the Titans 24-17 to build a 49-38 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The win stopped a three-game Jefferson losing streak. Andre Daniel added 13 points in the victory, while Austin Thompson finished with 11. Jefferson got 31 points from its post players.
“I am happy with the effort,” DuBose said of the win. “We’ve still got a long way to go but they’re things that are correctable.”
DuBose was much happier Tuesday than he was four days ago.
That’s when Commerce shooting guard Jonathan Book knocked down six three-pointers and scored 22 points Friday as the Tigers rallied to beat Jefferson, 46-44. This was Commerce’s second-straight victory in the rivalry and third in the last five meetings.
DuBose said his team simply didn’t play with the same fire as Commerce did, saying his team was both outplayed and outcoached.
“I just felt like the whole ball game that they played harder than we did and actually acted like they wanted to play well and win the game more than we did,” he said.
DuBose added that he “didn’t have them ready for whatever reason.”
“I’m always kind of baffled when you play a big rival like that and you’re not ready to play,” he said.
Book hit two of those three-pointers in the fourth quarter as the Tigers rallied from an 11-point deficit to beat the Dragons.
DuBose said his team knew that Book was dangerous from the outside but still failed to get a hand in his face on his perimeter shots.
“I thought we were a step slow on defense all night long getting out on shooters,” DuBose said.
The Dragons had a chance to tie the game on the final possession. But Andre Daniel missed a running layup with time running down and Will Puckett missed the put back as the clock expired.
Austin Thompson led Jefferson with 13 points, while Daniel — who hit a three with 15 seconds left to pull Jefferson within one point — added 12.
The Dragons led the Tigers 19-16 at the break after a low-scoring first-half. Daniel drained a near-half court buzzer-beater to give Jefferson the lead at intermission.
DuBose pointed out that his team only had 12 points with less than a minute remaining in the first half.
“A big part of that is because our shot selection had been so poor,” DuBose said.
Jefferson led for most of the second half and took a 38-27 advantage with Dustin Casey’s bucket with 7:38 left in the game.
“Even when we got that 11-point lead I never felt really good because we were still kind of stagnant on offense,” DuBose said.
Commerce, however, wasn’t. Sparked by the offensive play of both Book and Thomas McMillan, Commerce went on 15-1 run to take a 42-39 lead that it wouldn’t relinquish.
“I just thought the last seven minutes of the game we kind of reverted back to what we did in the first half,” DuBose said. “We became very stagnant. We settled for some bad shots and just quit scoring.”