IF ONE moment summed up Jefferson’s Tuesday night state tournament win over Manchester, it was this one.
The Dragons’ Satchel Turpin caught a pass on the baseline in the third quarter and drove unimpeded for a vicious two-handed jam that sent the home-standing crowd into a frenzy.
“Like (coach Bolling) DuBose has told us all season, don’t rely on the three-pointer — attack the basket,” Turpin said. “And that’s where we’ve had the most success.”
Jefferson (25-5) attacked the basket often in beating second-seeded Manchester 80-62 at home to advance to the Elite Eight, where it will host nationally-ranked Greater Atlanta Christian Thursday at 7 p.m.
“It’s a great privilege,” Turpin said. “We get to play the number 18th-ranked team in the nation. So that’s going to be a real fun thing.”
DuBose said the Spartans “are almost like a junior college team.”
“I’ve had a bunch of coaches tell me they’re the best team in the state, regardless of classification,” he said.
This is Jefferson’s first trip to the Elite Eight since the program reached the Final Four in 2010.
Jefferson goes into this game after arguably its best performance of the year.
Tay Taylor scored 25 points Tuesday night, while Turpin added 14 as the Dragons whipped the Region 5-AA runners-up.
Hunter Thompson also reached double figures with 12 points.
The game was tied at 35 at the half, but Jefferson went on a 9-2 run to end the third quarter — highlighted by Turpin’s dunk.
“Well, they just left it open,” Turpin said with a laugh. “But that got everybody fired up. It put us on a run … There’s nothing like dunking in the state playoffs. That’s fun.”
DuBose said his team was able to get to the basket more than he thought it would.
“And once that started working, we said ‘look, don’t settle for three’s,’” he said. “‘We’re not going to beat them taking three’s. Keep taking it to the basket.’”
Jefferson outscored Manchester 23-15 in the fourth quarter to win going away.
DuBose said the Dragons’ objective was to neutralize Manchester’s transition game and limit Manchester’s offensive boards.
“They didn’t have a lot of second and third shots,” DuBose said.
Another key was getting Taylor going. The senior, who was in foul trouble in the first half, scored 21 points in the second half.
“The second half he played great,” DuBose said.
The Dragons reached the second round game against Manchester by beating Lovett Friday night.
Jefferson led 26-19 at intermission but ended up routing the Lions in the second half. Turpin poured in 24 points and Roc Young added 21.
Turpin scored 10 points in the third quarter alone, and the Dragons closed that period with a 21-8 run to take a 54-35 lead.
Meanwhile, Young scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half.
“I did not feel like Lovett knew how good he was on offense,” DuBose said. “He’s so quick with the ball, I didn’t feel like they had anybody who could stop him from going to the basket.”
Now, Jefferson has some Giant slaying to do if it is going to reach the Final Four. But the Dragons are plenty excited to be back in the quarterfinals playing GAC.
“Our kids have done a great job,” said DuBose, who praised his nine-member senior class. “Just to put themselves in a position to play GAC is great.”