After suffering two-straight losses in region play, the Banks County Lady Leopards responded with four-straight wins to get back on track.
The Lady Leopards (14-6, 6-2 Region 8-AA) sit in the second spot in region. Rabun County currently sits atop the standings.
Banks County downed Elbert County 60-45 in Elberton on Tuesday.
The Lady Leopards will travel to Rabun County on Friday. They look to avenge a 63-62 overtime loss from earlier this season against Rabun County.
Allison Smith scored a team-high 20 points. Kailynn Gilstrap dropped 14 points and Taylor Parson added 12 points.
The Lady Leopards picked up a grinding 46-42 win over Monticello last Friday and throttled Social Circle, 80-32, last Saturday.
Head coach Steven Shedd said the team wasn’t “too thrilled” with its first-half performance against Social Circle. The Lady Leopards led 33-17 at halftime.
The team dominated the second half, scoring 22 and 25 points, respectively, in the third and fourth quarters. The defense clamped down and held Social Circle to just 15 second-half points.
Jaycie Bowen scored 18 points and Gabby Kennedy totaled 12 points in the win.
Allison Smith was the leading scorer in the win at Monticello with 11 points. Lauren Shedd added eight points.
“We (the coaches) kind of talked to them at halftime a little bit and made some adjustments, and they came out on fire in the second half,” Shedd said.
“It was a big win. Anytime we can get a win in the region, it’s big.”
Shedd didn’t know how the players were “going to handle” the back-to-back road games in Monticello and Social Circle.
The answer was in their play, which was “well.”
“The game on Friday night was a pretty intense game,” Shedd said about the Monticello win. “To pull that one out by four points was big, being a region win on the road. Then to come back on Social Circle and win as convincingly as we did was pretty satisfying.”
Against Monticello, Shedd said as the regular season comes to an end, his team is working on handling the pressure of opposing defenses.
“We’ve got to be able to learn to shake that pressure and not necessarily panic,” he said. “I really, really, truly feel like if we can handle the pressure against any of these teams, I really like our chances.
“That’s what we’re going to spend time working on between this week and next week.”
He’s had the girls go up against the boys’ squad in practice to simulate the speed some of the opposing teams present. He’s also piped-in loud music to simulate how loud some gyms can get, he said.
“We’ve got to be able to maintain our lead when these teams start putting pressure on us,” he said.
For the first time this season, the team is back to full strength. Lauren Shedd has returned to the lineup and helps add depth to the roster, he explained.
“It’s all coming at just the right time,” he said. “We still like where we’re at, we like our chances. I think this week is going to say a lot.
“It’s not to say that if we have a slip-up that we’re completely out of it, but it sure would be nice to pick up a couple of wins this week.”