JEFFERSON coach Bolling DuBose was happy with his team’s 72-62 Friday win over Jackson County – but not as happy as he would have liked to have been.
Austin Thompson scored 13 points, Andre Daniel added 12 and Will Puckett and Bryant Shirreffs finished with 11 and 10 respectively as Jefferson (5-4) moved a game above .500 and to 2-0 in subregion play heading into Christmas break.
“It’s great that we won, but I’m not happy with the way we played in the second half,” said DuBose, who saw his team’s 18-point lead whittled to eight at one point.
The Dragons are off until the Dec. 27-29 Westminster Holiday Classic. Jefferson opens with host Westminster Dec. 27.
Jefferson seized control of Friday’s game from the opening tip, getting the ball inside multiple times to Puckett as the Dragon post player scored 10 points in a fast-paced first half.
“I thought (point guard) Andre (Daniel) did a great job getting the ball inside to Will, especially off the break a few times,” DuBose said.
Jefferson built a 40-26 halftime lead when Jeshua Kidd drained a three-pointer at the buzzer.
“I just thought the first half, we played really hard,” DuBose said. “We played about 10 or 11 guys. Our whole game plan was to really put pressure on them in the press full-court and try to turn them over, which we did. I thought we created a lot of turnovers.”
Jefferson ran its lead out to 18 points by closing the third period on a 6-1 spurt, capped by a bucket from Shirreffs in the closing seconds.
But DuBose wasn’t pleased with the way his team finished out the game — turning the ball over and settling for too many three-pointers. He said his team needs to continue to look for scoring opportunities inside.
“I told them, ‘some of you guys think you’re great three-point shooters but I’ve got the stats to prove otherwise,’” DuBose said. “We’ve played nine games. We don’t shoot the ball well outside. But when we take it inside, we score.”
DuBose added: “It’s great that we’re 2-0, and I’m happy with the win. But we’ve got a lot of things to get better at.”
This was Jefferson’s second-straight victory over Jackson County, having beaten the Panthers 51-36 back in January to earn a split in the season series last year.
Jackson County had a quartet of scorers in double figures of its own in this game with Jared Scott and Kolin Zimmer leading the way with 15 apiece. Xavier Harper added a season-high 14 points and Richie Rodriguez finished with 11.
Jackson County didn’t go away when faced with an 18-point deficit in the final period.
The Panthers cut into the Dragons’ lead in the fourth when a three-pointer from Zimmer whittled Jefferson’s lead to 60-52. But Jackson County couldn’t get any closer in dropping its third consecutive subregion game.
Jackson County moved on to a pair of non-region games after playing Jefferson.
The Panthers lost to Oconee County 48-47 Saturday. The Warriors hit a pair of free throws to take the one-point lead and the Panthers couldn’t hit their final desperation toss.
“The guys were tired from our battle with Jefferson the night before,” coach Britt Beaver said. “We played pretty well.”
Jackson County led after each of the first three quarters.
Jared Scott finished with 18 points and nine boards. Kolin Zimmer added 15 points.
The Panthers played Stephens County Tuesday, but results weren't available at press time.