JACKSON COUNTY had long awaited an offensive performance like this. And with the region tournament around the corner, it hopes more are on the way.
Three Lady Panthers (5-16, 3-7) scored in double figures, and Jackson County slashed its turnovers significantly in a 64-49 victory over Oconee County Friday at home. The Lady Panthers’ 64 points were a season-high.
“We’ve had some really good stands this year on defense,” coach Julie McCutcheon said. “We just really haven’t had it come together for us on offense consistently, and tonight (Friday) that was exactly what we were pleased with.”
Jackson County certainly spread its scoring load around in avenging a 46-38 loss to Oconee County back on Dec. 13.
Post player Ashlyn Loudermilk provided a steady inside scoring presence for the Lady Panthers, shooting 7-of-11 from the floor and pouring in 15 points. Shooting guard Shelton Kendrix posted a double-double with 14 points, 13 boards and six assists. Point guard Brianna Love also reached double figures, throwing in 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting before leaving in the third quarter with an injury.
Jackson County did a little bit of everything offensively in the win. It was able to successfully work the ball down into the post, as well as kick the ball out to open shooters and score in transition. It also went 17-of-21 from the free throw line (81 percent).
“Tonight (Friday), it seemed liked we were able to adjust to all of those things,” McCutcheon said. “If they gave us the (fast) break, we took the break. If we didn’t, we were able to pull it out and run a couple of sets and score off that.”
Jackson County led 32-28 following a hard-fought first half, then started the second half with a 13-0 run. Oconee County answered and cut the Lady Panthers’ advantage to 52-44 with 4:54 left in the game, but Jackson County responded with a 12-2 fourth quarter run to put the game out of reach.
But the best stat of the night? Just nine turnovers from the Lady Panthers.
That came after turning the ball over 39 times against Franklin County.
“They’re starting to grow up,” McCutcheon said of her players. “Again, that’s been really our challenge I guess. At the beginning of the season with a very young team, you’re going to expect high turnovers. That was probably our no. 1 thing. It was big that we had balanced scoring, but our no. 1 thing is that we brought our turnovers down tonight (Friday).”
Jackson County was set to play Morgan County this past Tuesday night. It closes the regular season with games against North Oconee, Hart County and East Jackson.