Jefferson jumped out to a 19-0 lead on Flowery Branch and won by 16 points, but Kevin Morris wasn’t necessarily a pleased coach afterwards.
The Dragons picked up a 60-44 win Saturday (Nov. 23) over the Falcons in the first round of Jefferson’s Tabo’s Tip-Off Tournament, but Morris said his team lost its focus after surging to a big lead.
“A 16-point win and I’m mad,” he said. “But we lost the game for the (last) 28 minutes. We lost by three points. That’s just not the goal, and that’s just not the quality of games that we’re supposed to play.”
Four Dragons reached double figures as the team moved to 2-1. Owen Parker finished with 15 points, Jacob Radaker and Spencer Darby both scored 11 and Daniel Parker added 10.
Jefferson knocked down three 3-pointers — two from Darby — in the first 3:34 of the game to take a 13-0 lead, and then extended the advantage to 19-0. Flowery Branch, which won one game last year, didn’t manage its first basket until the 3:10 mark in the first quarter.
The Dragons built a 30-6 lead early in the second quarter after a basket from Owen Parker, but the lead shrank to 40-23 at the half.
"We just didn't do what got us the lead," Morris said.
Flowery Branch trimmed the deficit to 47-35 after three quarters and pulled to within nine points, 47-38, in the fourth quarter when Jack Ramsey buried a 3-pointer at the 6:05 mark. But Jefferson scored the next six points with baskets from Michael Johnson, Daniel Parker and Owen Parker to push the lead back out to 15. Flowery Branch came no closer than 12 points the rest of the way.
As with the Dragons’ first two games, Jefferson played nearly its entire roster. But Morris said he’d like to see his front-line players play harder.
“We need to be more tired, so we need subs,” Morris said. “They need to play harder so those subs need to play instead of just subbing them in for a couple minutes just for the fun of it. They need to be tired. I don’t think we’re tired enough."
Morris looks to see how his team will respond Monday (Nov. 25) at 7:30 p.m. when it faces Winder-Barrow in the second round of the tournament.
“They’re really athletic,” Morris said. “They’ve got a big kid to match up with (center) Jacob (Radaker) a little bit. That will be a good challenge for us.”