Jefferson girls’ basketball coach Greg Brown said his team was either going to “win or learn” in a non-region matchup against Class AAAAAAA No. 4-ranked North Forsyth.
It ended up being a learning experience.
The Dragons (9-1, 1-0 Region 8-AAA) fell 53-41 Friday (Dec. 6) to the visiting Raiders, suffering their first loss of the season.
“There’s no losing; we’re learning,” Brown said, “and I think we learned a lot about ourselves tonight. Now, we’ve got to apply it next week when we play again.”
Livi Blackstock led Jefferson with 11 points, and Deshona Gaither added nine.
Jefferson trailed 10-1 out of the gate, and then by 19 (29-10) at the break to the 6-1 Raiders. Gaither was held scoreless in the first half, and Jefferson had a tough time getting to the rim.
“I thought they were very physical with us, and I think that’s the way the game kind of went,” Brown said. “We didn’t handle it as well. I thought at times in the second half we did a better job, but we just shot ourselves in the foot early. I thought we didn’t do a good enough job guarding the basketball. They were more physical than we were.”
The Dragons fell behind by 22 points (44-22) with 2:52 left in the third quarter before posting nine-straight points to cut the lead to 44-31 heading into the fourth quarter. The Dragons then pulled to within 12 points (49-37) with a 3-pointer from Courtney Kidd with 3:10 left. A layup from Ellie Kinlaw later cut the advantage to 52-41, but only 1:05 remained in the game.
Brown said his team played better in the second half.
“I challenged them at halftime … things aren’t going our way, ‘what kind of character do we have, how are we going to respond?’” Brown said. “And I definitely think we did. It was just a little too late.”
Brown said his team will benefit from the 12-point loss.
“In a non-region team against a top-five team in the state in seven-A, I think we learned a lot about ourselves tonight,” Brown said. “And it’s only going to help us, and we get to play them again in a couple weeks, so that’s even better.
“I’m excited. We needed this. I needed it. We needed it, and it’s a great opportunity for our girls to learn.”
The Dragons return to action Tuesday (Dec. 10) on the road at region opponent Franklin County (1-6, 0-2 Region 8-AAA).