Non-region games will present challenges for JHS

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Sophomore Jake Franklin takes one to the basket against the Titans of Northview High School during the Tabo’sTip-Off Tournament. Doug Chellew/The Paper.

The history of Jefferson High School athletics extends far beyond the football team.

The basketball team has a few banners hanging high in the gym and they do not go unnoticed. Head Coach Bolling DuBose is in his thirty-seventh year coaching the boys’ squad.

For three consecutive seasons, (2004-2005, 2005-2006, 2006-2007) the Dragons finished with more than 20 wins and went undefeated in region play. Jefferson continued to remain a powerhouse within the state and in 2009 they finished the season without any losses in its conference; they went on to make an appearance in the final four where they lost to Thomasville High School, who eventually fell to Greater Atlanta Christian in the championship game.

Last season, the Dragons finished 20-10 with just one region loss to Elbert County High School. They also made an appearance in the region championship game where they fell to Dawson County by just eight points; Jefferson will seek another appearance in the region championship game this year.

The reshuffled regions shouldn’t pose too much of a threat for the Dragons yet, they couldn’t get shots to fall their way against Oglethorpe County High School; therefore, Jefferson must always come out and knock down shots just in case trouble arises.

The Dragons opened its season with a tough loss to Therrell High School; however, they turned things around with wins over Northview and Mountain View High School. On Dec. 4, Oglethorpe County came to Jefferson and stole one in a 4-point win. In the final quarter, the Dragons made a deep run and took a 1-point lead but they sent the Patriots to the foul line in the final minutes.

Jefferson was the favorite going into the game against Oglethorpe County but they didn’t play up to their potential until the second half. Willie Taylor anchored a strong offensive presence in the second half and the Dragons held a 1-point lead at the top of the fourth quarter but it wasn’t enough to seal a win over a Patriot team that finished 7-16 a year ago.

The Dragons are missing Rufus Whitfield, Evan Shirreffs, Isaiah Blake, and Donnie Hatfield who are all members of the football team. When these players return, the Dragons will have a little bit more height and depth to make them a solid team.

The Dragons lost Andre Daniel, Will Puckett and Austin Thompson. Thompson was a big scorer who finished with 35 points in the Dragons loss to Greater Atlanta Christian in the Sweet 16 last season.

JHS will compete against the Redskins of Social Circle High School tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. The Redskins were 3-18 last season and are a newcomer to the region. The Redskins won’t have Robert Griffin III in the crowd to give them good luck; it should be an easy win for Jefferson.

The Dragons biggest challenge will come by way of Rabun County, who is a team that accomplished 20 wins on the season last year. Greene County, Union County and Washington-Wilkes all finished with losing seasons yet, the Patriots confirmed its ability to notch a surprising win.

Jefferson may not have many struggles in their division yet their conference games could put their season in danger if they don’t seal non-region wins. Their arch-rival Commerce High School finished 15-13 last year and has seen success in recent years.

Last year, they split the series at one-a-piece with Jefferson. A big one to watch for will be the matchup against North Hall who has turned into a powerhouse after going 24-6 last year. The Dragons will host the Trojans on Feb. 2 and will need a rowdy crowd to be the sixth man in a pivotal non-conference showdown.