FLOWERY Branch guard Nick Wayne nailed six three-pointers Saturday to hand a shorthanded Jefferson team a 51-48 loss, its first since Jan. 3.
Wayne finished with 20 points. The Dragons had won five straight.
“No. 4 (Wayne) hitting threes was not a surprise,” Jefferson coach Bolling DuBose said. “He hit six in their last game … And actually, for three out of the four quarters, I thought we did a really good job.”
Austin Thompson and Will Puckett each led the Dragons with 12 points. Jeshua Kidd added 10 points.
Jefferson was missing three key players for this one — Satchel Turpin (injury), Andrew Bartek (didn’t dress out) and Dustin Casey (recruiting trip).
The Dragons trailed this non-region meeting 22-20 at the half and watched Class AAAA Flowery Branch use a 14-2 run — highlighted by three Wayne three-pointers — to lead 36-24 with 1:42 left in the third quarter.
“In the third quarter, we just left him (Wayne) wide-open,” DuBose said.
DuBose tinkered with a 1-3-1 zone during that third quarter, feeling this was as good a time as any to test it with this being a non-region game.
“There’s no guarantee that we wouldn’t have done the same (given up that many shots) thing in our normal defense,” he said. “I don’t know. But I do think getting to play that in a game situation is going to help us later on.”
The Falcons led by as much as 14 in the fourth.
Jefferson slowly chipped away, however, whittling the lead down to 49-46 following a bucket and free throw from Puckett with 26 seconds left.
But Jefferson was forced to foul and Flowery Branch converted 2-of-4 attempts to give it a two-possession lead.
Still, DuBose wasn’t frustrated.
“I thought the fourth quarter, we really played hard,” DuBose said.