One of Jefferson’s best players is playing some of her best basketball as the postseason nears.
The Dragons’ Livi Blackstock scored 18 first-half points and finished with 20 points as Jefferson downed East Jackson 62-37 Friday (Jan. 24) on the road.
Blackstock’s performance came after she hit five 3-pointers Saturday (Jan. 18) against Class AAAAA No. 1-ranked Buford and scored 18 points in a win over Morgan County Tuesday (Jan. 21).
“It’s nice to see that,” Jefferson coach Greg Brown said. “It’s nice to see her feeling comfortable shooting the basketball. She does so much for us, defensively and just taking care of the ball and pushing it at the pace that we want to play.
“I think she’ll be the first to tell you that she struggled a little bit early in the year shooting, but we see it coming back, and it gets us kind of excited.”
Blackstock, a University of North Georgia commit, connected on five first-half 3-pointers as Jefferson (19-4, 10-0 Region 8-AAA) led East Jackson 20-4 after a quarter and 37-19 at halftime.
“And they were all great shots, and we’re on her all the time about just keep shooting, keep shooting, keep shooting,” Brown said.
Deshona Gaither had a big night as well with 19 points, 13 of which came in the first half.
Gaither’s layup in the closing seconds of the third quarter gave Jefferson a 59-27 lead.
The Dragons used the majority of the fourth quarter for their subs as they rolled to their sixth win in seven games.
“You never know how it’s going to be when you’ve beaten a team once already by a pretty good margin and you have to go on the road,” said Brown, whose team beat East Jackson 72-37 in December. “I didn’t think we played our best the other night at Morgan (County) on the road, and I really challenged them this week in practice leading up to today. I thought we played really, really well from the very beginning.
“The first three quarters, I thought we were really, really good."
Antonia Pittman scored 13 points to lead East Jackson (10-13, 3-7 Region 8-AAA), which lost its fourth-straight game. Eagle coach Cherrelle Pullen preached consistency after the game.
“Certain spurts of the game, I was proud how my girls were playing — if we could (just) play hard, play strong and play consistent throughout all four quarters,” she said.
Pullen added, “Jefferson has a really solid team.”
East Jackson returns to action Tuesday (Jan. 28) at rival Jackson County. Meanwhile, Jefferson faces Hart County Tuesday (Jan. 28) at home. The Region 8-AAA tournament starts Feb. 3.
Brown said he likes what he’s seeing from his squad late in the regular season.
“We did things well tonight that we talked about this week in practice, and that’s what I’m concerned with right now,” Brown said. “Are we fixing mistakes, are we cleaning things up as we get to the most important time of the year? I thought we did that for sure tonight.”