KEEPING a better handle on the ball and finishing around the basket will be the main order of business at Jackson County’s practice this week as it gets ready for rival Jefferson Friday.
The Panthers (3-7, 0-2) committed too many turnovers and saw too many balls roll off the rim Tuesday in their 60-49 loss to Hart County.
“That’s just been something the last two games,” coach Britt Beaver said. “Just finishing. We’re going to really work on that the next two days.”
Jared Scott led Jackson County with 14 points. Kolin Zimmer added 12.
The Bulldogs’ relentless defense forced Jackson County — which trailed 27-23 at the half — into several second half miscues which turned into Hart County points. The Bulldogs took a 47-26 edge late in the third quarter before Jackson County mounted a furious rally.
The Panthers cut the lead to 53-47 with 2:24 left in the game with a bucket from Xavier Harper but missed a chance to trim the lead to four points when a lay-in from Scott rolled off the rim. Hart County pulled away from there.
Turnovers kept Jackson County from a more successful rally.
“Hart County played a pretty good game,” Beaver said. “We had a million turnovers. If we correct the turnover problem and start to finish (our baskets) and we win these games. That’s what we’ve told the kids.”
Jackson County was coming off a double overtime to Banks County, 58-53.
Zimmer scored 22 points in the losing effort, while Harper added 11 and Scott finished with seven.
The Panthers were again plagued by several miscues and a poor start.
“We came out just very, very flat — not playing well,” Beaver said.
The coach pointed out that these are youthful mistakes.
“The young guys are getting a lot of playing time, but again, the inexperience just kind of showing its ugly head right now and we’re taking some lumps,” Beaver said. “But I feel we’ll come together at the right time. At least that’s my hope.”
The Panthers dropped their subregion opener the night before to North Oconee, 51-36, in a game that was closer than the score indicated.
Jackson County led the Titans by a point with 50 seconds left in the third quarter.
“We kind of battled all night,” Beaver said.
Scott led the Panthers with 11 points. Peter Thao added six. Lineburger added five, as did Nick Corso.
North Oconee shot 31 free throws to Jackson County’s 13.
Injuries continued to be an issue for Jackson County in this game as it lost forward Kevin Lineburger, who went to the hospital needing stitches. This came after Richie Rodriguez went to the hospital last week due to a concussion.