Here is a rundown of the weekend's basketball action:
Jefferson girls top Rabun Co. again in battle of top-10 teams
For the second time in 12 days, the Jefferson girls’ basketball team beat Class AA No. 4-ranked Rabun County.
The Class AAAA No. 1-ranked Dragons (14-3) topped the Wildcats 61-52 Saturday (Jan. 23) on the road behind 18 points and eight boards from Cortney Kidd. The senior shot 7-of-9 from the floor and 4-of-6 from 3-point range.
Livi Blackstock added 14 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals. Ellie Kinlaw finished with 13 points.
Jefferson, which trailed only once, led 38-27 at the half and took a 52-45 advantage after three quarters.
The Dragons host Flowery Branch Tuesday (Jan. 26, 6 p.m.) in region play.
Dragons edge Rabun Co. to improve to 12-4
The Jefferson boys’ basketball team pulled out a 44-38 victory over a three-win Rabun County team Saturday (Jan. 23) to improve to 12-4.
Dalen Gales led the Dragons with 18 points and eight rebounds. Josh Howell had eight assists and three steals.
The teams were tied 17-17 at the half. Jefferson led the low-scoring affair 29-21 after three quarters.
Jefferson built a 38-25 lead midway through the final period and held on for the win as the Wildcats came within four points at one point.
The Dragons host region opponent Flowery Branch Tuesday (Jan. 26, 6 p.m.).
Commerce girls earn fifth-straight win
The Commerce girls’ basketball team collected its fifth-straight win and improved to 4-1 in Region 8-A Public play with a 66-33 rout of Social Circle Saturday (Jan. 23) on the road.
Carson Hobbs scored 15 points, and Bryanna Sanders added 13 points. Maggie Mullis and Raven Parks each chipped in eight points.
Point guard Lauren Massey, who has been out with an injury, played for the first time since Dec. 10 and scored two points as the Tigers are “easing her back in,” according to coach Brad Puckett.
Commerce (7-8), who won't play Lake Oconee Academy or Lincoln County this week due to COVID issues among those teams, will host Washington-Wilkes Saturday (Jan. 30, 5 p.m.).
Jackson Co. girls rout Johnson
Led by nine points from Makayla Bailey, the Jackson County girls' basketball team beat Johnson-Gainesville 49-24 Saturday (Jan. 23) on the road.
The Panthers improved to 6-10 overall and 4-5 in Region 8-AAAAA play. Jackson County hosts Clarke Central Tuesday (Jan. 26, 7:30 p.m.).
Tigers handed tough region loss at Social Circle
Commerce suffered a lopsided region loss Saturday (Jan. 23) at Social Circle, losing 65-34.
The Tigers (4-12, 2-3 Region 8-A Public) play at Lake Oconee Academy Tuesday (Jan. 26, 6 p.m.).
East Jackson girls take sole possession of first place in 8-AAA
In a battle of teams tied for first-place, the East Jackson girls beat Franklin County 47-42 Friday (Jan. 22) on the road, using a 14-4 run in the final five minutes to sprint past the Lions. East Jackson is now 3-0 in region play.
Kenzie Whitehead led East Jackson (7-2) with 14 points, 10 of which came during the Eagles’ late push. Destiny Rakestraw added 10 points.
East Jackson trailed 38-33 heading into the fourth quarter after a back-and-forth third quarter.
Whitehead ignited the Eagles’ fourth-quarter run with a layup after a steal. The senior then knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to give East Jackson a 41-38 lead.
After a Franklin County free throw, Destiny Rakestraw sank a long two-pointer, and Whitehead added another fast-break layup to increase the Eagles’ lead to 45-39. A basket from Antonia Pittman with two minutes remaining put East Jackson ahead 47-42.
East Jackson travels to Stephens County (11-5, 2-1 Region 8-AAA) Tuesday (Jan. 26, 6 p.m.) for a major region matchup as the Eagles try to remain perfect in 8-AAA.
East Jackson boys can’t overcome slow start vs. Franklin Co.
The East Jackson boys' basketball team fell into a deep hole after a quarter of play, and didn’t have the firepower to mount a comeback in a 67-46 road loss at Franklin County Friday (Jan. 22).
Makayl Rakestraw led the Eagles with 20 points. R.J. White added 15 points. But only three other Eagles scored.
The Eagles’ trailed 25-8 after the opening quarter, due in part to five Lion 3-pointers.
East Jackson steadied itself in the second quarter, trimming the Lions' 17-point lead to 13 points (30-17), but were quickly outscored 14-1 coming out of halftime.
East Jackson plays Tuesday (Jan. 26, 7:30 p.m.) at Stephens County.
Jackson Co. girls drop low-scoring region game to Walnut Grove
The Jackson County girls' basketball team fell 32-28 Friday (Jan. 22) at home to region foe Walnut Grove.
Makayla Bailey led the Panthers with seven points.
Panthers knock off first-place Walnut Grove
After being routed by first-place Walnut Grove by 23 points on Dec. 15, the Jackson County boys' basketball team exacted a major measure of revenge Friday (Jan. 22), beating the region-leading Warriors 75-62.
Kalib Clinton, who was held to single digits scoring in the first game with Walnut Grove, scored 24 points in this meeting, while Max Brown contributed 17 points and freshman Trentyn Flowers added 15 points. Bryce Blake chipped in nine points, and Riley Baugh finished with six points.
The Panthers only scored 32 points in the previous meeting but reached that total by halftime in Friday’s rematch.
Jackson County hosts Clarke Central — which has taken over first-place in the region — on Tuesday (Jan. 26, 6 p.m.).
Gaither leads Jefferson girls to region win over No. 10-ranked Cedar Shoals
Behind 29 points from Deshona Gaither, the Jefferson girls notched a big region road win over Cedar Shoals 61-44 on Friday (Jan. 22).
Gaither went 10-of-13 from the floor and went 8-of-12 from the foul line.
Livi Blackstock added 13 points and eight rebounds. Allianne Clark finished with 11 points.
Jefferson shot 16-of-22 from the free-throw line, while the Jaguars just attempted nine free throws (5-of-9).
The Dragons, who only led by a point midway through the third quarter, outscored the Jaguars 17-5 in the fourth quarter to pull away for the win.
Jefferson unbeaten in Region 8-AAAA play at 6-0 while second-place Cedar Shoals is 5-3.
Jefferson boys’ winning streak snapped in close loss to Cedar Shoals
In a pairing of the top two teams in Class AAAA, the No. 10-ranked Jefferson boys fell to No. 6-ranked Cedar Shoals 62-59 Friday (Jan. 22) on the road in Athens.
Jefferson, which trailed for the majority of the first half, led 34-28 at halftime and held a 50-44 lead after three quarters.
Four Dragons reached double figures in the loss: Kam Robinson (18 points), J.T. Fulkrod (11 points), Kadin Bailey (10 points) and Dalen Gales (10 points).