THE JEFFERSON girls have been on the cusp of putting together a complete game several times this season.
On Friday, it all came together at exactly the right time. Jefferson throttled Elbert County, Region 8-AA South’s third-place team, 53-34 for its biggest subregion win to date.
“The biggest thing was just being consistent — not getting on that roller coaster and having peaks and valleys,” Jefferson coach Jason Gibson said.
Jefferson has played well in portions of games this year but not like this.
“This particular game, I felt like our kids came out ready to play defensively and we did a great job rebounding the ball,” Gibson said. “And we thought that was one of the biggest keys all along when you’re playing a team like Elbert.”
Jefferson, which led 25-9 at the half, turned out such a dominating performance that it emptied its bench after taking a 40-12 lead after three quarters.
Gibson said one of the biggest factors was taking away second-chance points from the Lady Blue Devils. He explained Elbert County’s offense is one that relies on lobbing the ball inside to its posts, getting to the hoop off dribble penetration and getting offensive boards if outside shooters miss long.
Jefferson was able to negate all of that.
“I felt like it worked,” Gibson said of his team’s defensive strategy and rebounding, “and offensively, we did a good job attacking.”
Jefferson got the job done on the offensive end despite shooting poorly. In fact, the Lady Dragons shot just 27 percent from the floor and went 0-for-2 from behind the three-point arc.
But Jefferson did attack the basket for points and got to the foul line often.
Gibson pointed to an interesting offensive note: none of Jefferson’s scorers reached double figures. But five scored six or more: Skylar Evanson (nine), Sarah Wood (eight), Brianna Whatley (eight), Kellie Goza (seven), Jakeia Wilson (six) and Rachel Goza (five).
“We got a lot of production from a lot of different folks,” Gibson said. “That makes you tough to defend.”
The other important factor in the win was pure hustle, the coach said.
“We did a great job of getting after balls,” Gibson said. “Even though we didn’t have a great shooting night, we came up with a lot of those loose balls and had more possessions than they did.”
Jefferson closes its subregion slate against rival Jackson County Friday on the road against a Lady Panther team playing very well right now.
“They are playing well,” Gibson said. “They do a good job in playing their roles. They play extremely hard and get after you.”