Pierce Martin and Carl Cleveland combined for 54 points in the Leopards’ 71-67 win over Jefferson Tuesday night. The Dragons (0-1) were led by Owen Parker’s 18 points. Jacob Radaker had 15 points and Damien Lester added 14 points.
Jefferson trailed after every quarter in the loss.
After holding an early first-quarter lead, and being tied 5-5, Martin rattled off three-straight 3-pointers to push the Leopards ahead 14-5. The Leopards outscored the Dragons 16-8 to end the first quarter. Jefferson trailed 21-13 after the first.
In the second quarter, the Leopards stretched the lead out to as many as 11 points (28-17). Down 32-24, the Dragons ended the first half on a positive note, outscoring the Leopards 7-2 going into the locker room. Banks County led 34-31 at intermission.
The third quarter featured furious scoring from both teams. The opening nine Banks County points came from three Martin 3-pointers. But Radaker answered with two buckets of his own, and then an Owen Parker 3-pointer along with five points from Lester had the Dragons tied at 43-43 midway through quarter. After Cleveland and Daniel Parker exchanged buckets, Martin and Owen Parker exchanged 3-pointers to set the score at 48-48. But a Garrett Presley bucket for Banks County put the Leopards ahead 50-48 going into the final quarter.
The back-and-forth affair continued in the fourth as the lead changed hands six times. Up 65-64 after a Daniel Parker 3-pointer, Jefferson watched Martin do what he did eight other times in the game, drain a 3-pointer to give the Leopards the lead for good at 67-65. Martin also hit a pair of free throws shortly after to push the lead to 69-65. The final basket from Jefferson came from Lester with 33.1 seconds left.