The Jefferson High School girls’ basketball team is another of the Dragons’ programs adding to the great tradition of excellence in JHS sports.
Not too long ago, the Dragons were winning 20 or more games a year. In the 2004-2005 season, Jefferson went (23-6) overall and 7-2 in region play. The next season, JHS lost just nine games and again boasted 23 wins.
Jefferson had four straight seasons in which the Lady Dragons finished above .500, this year’s team looks to be headed in the right direction with the opportunity to finish as one of the top teams in the region.
“These kids are working hard. Their goals are no different than the ones we set the last several years and I think this team understands we have a lot of work to do,” said Head Coach Jason Gibson. “We have to try to get back to a place where we feel like we need to be.
“We are going to take who is out there and coach them best we can [and] try to get them to play the best they can possibly play,” said Gibson.
“The objective every year that we talk is to win the region championship [game] and advance in the state tournament. That’s what we set out to do every year.”
“There are a lot of things as a coach you can’t control; you can’t control injuries. What we try to focus on is what our kids do,” Gibson said.
Last year, the Dragons finished 12-14 and found themselves in a very familiar situation; Jefferson didn’t have a chance to compete for a state title.
“We have been one game short of the state tournament for the last four years,” said Gibson. “It’s a frustrating thing when you work hard and are trying to get to a certain point but don’t quite reach that goal.
There have [had] some teams that I feel as though we could have gotten there had things worked out right. Then, there have probably been some teams where we probably were without a doubt the underdog in terms of getting there.”
Jefferson suffered two close losses to Flowery Branch and Winder-Barrow High School last year. Both games went into overtime. The Dragons will need to avoid extended games and put themselves in a situation to win early on, which may prove to be beneficial when teams are being seeded for a championship run. This season, the Dragons should have a shot at the region title but will have to get past a powerful Rabun County High School squad.
Rabun County poses the biggest threat for the Dragons, a team that went 23-6 last year. RCHS defeated Jefferson 65-26 last year in a non-region game. The Wildcats were region champions two years ago in the 8A-AA region and lost to Calhoun High School in the first round of the state tournament last year.
Jefferson has the ability to kick teams out of the game early as they have done already twice this season. The Dragons defeated Therrell High School in the Tabo’s Tip-Off Tournament during which they conquered Therrell 54-12 with a strong effort by senior Sarah Woods, who finished the night 14 points. Jefferson took out Oglethorpe County High School on Dec. 4 by a score of 56-18, with the Patriots scoring just 12 points in the first half.
What would sports be without a rivalry game? Commerce High School has been a foe of the Dragons for a while but Jefferson had the last laugh as they drilled the Tigers twice last season.
In non-conference play, the Dragons will face Decatur High School which has a strong shooter in Jordan Dillard. Decatur finished 22-7 a year ago.
Not too far down the road is North Hall High School, which reached the
Final Four last season. The Lady Trojans have two scorers in Mary Kate
Rushton and Mckenna Rushton, seniors who both reached 1,000 points in
their careers last year.
This season won’t be a walk in the park for Jefferson but it is very
likely the Lady Dragons could see their name on the bracket at the end
of the regular season.