The Jefferson girls’ basketball team has won three-straight, but those winning ways will be tested by a well-known foe this weekend.
The Lady Dragons (4-2) face long-time rival Commerce at home Friday.
“Commerce week is always fun because the kids enjoy the rivalry,” coach Jason Gibson said, noting the long history between the two schools.
This is Jefferson’s final non-region contest before subregion play begins, and the Lady Dragons would like to take a four-game winning streak into its 8-AA opener.
But a Commerce team that sports one of the best players in the area, Jasmine Grier, stands in the way.
“I expect it to be a war like it always is,” Gibson said.
Jefferson is coming off a 38-36 victory over Oconee County Tuesday in which it was boosted by a 17-point effort by freshman Bailey Boyd. Skylar Evanson added 10 points.
Boyd took over in the second quarter, scoring seven points in the period as Jefferson led 16-14 at the half. She then scored on back-to-back buckets at the end of the third quarter to give the Lady Dragons a 29-21 edge. Jefferson held off Oconee County down the stretch in the fourth quarter to earn another close victory.
Before the Oconee game, Jefferson enjoyed a victorious weekend, edging Mountain View 55-52 Saturday following a 39-24 win over Johnson Friday.
Against Mountain View — a Class AAAAA school out of Gwinnett County – four Jefferson players reached double figures in the Lady Dragons’ second win this year over the much-improved Lady Bears.
Gibson called the victory Jefferson’s most complete performance thus far. The Lady Dragons’ 55 points were their most this year, while they trimmed their turnovers down to 17 after giving the ball away 34 times the night before against Johnson.
“It was the best overall game we’ve played,” Gibson said.
The Lady Dragons built a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter, then withstood an offensive onslaught from Mountain View’s Emery Buckner to hold on to the victory. Buckner’s barrage included three 3-pointers in four trips down the court. But Buckner missed a contested, game-tying 3-point attempt as time expired.
Gibson praised his team for its poise.
“They didn’t go into a shell and panic,” Gibson said.
Kellie Goza and Rachel Goza each scored 12 points to lead Jefferson while Bethany Whitlock scored 11 points and played one of her best games at point guard this year, Gibson said. Boyd added 10 points and Jakeia Wilson scored all eight of her points in the fourth quarter.
Mountain View focused much of its defensive attention on Evanson, Gibson said.
“The other kids picked it up offensively,” he noted said.
Jefferson entered the game on the heels of a 15-point victory over Johnson.
Evanson paced Jefferson with 11 points, followed by Rachel Goza (seven), Jakeia Wilson (seven), Kellie Goza (five) and Boyd (five).
Gibson said Evanson continues to take what defenses gives her and attacks the basket.
“Teams have really tried to play up on her and make her attack the basket … and she’s done a really good job of attacking the basket.”
Gibson felt the Dragons defended very well and did a solid job on the boards but noted his team’s struggle to hold unto the ball. Jefferson won despite turning the ball over 34 times.
“We had so many unforced turnovers," he said.