A trio of Spartans delivered in double-digit scoring to catapult Greater Atlanta Christian past Jefferson High School as the Lady Dragons tried to capture the Walnut Grove Christmas Tournament title. GAC had other plans.
Brianna Cummings scored 21 points while CiiCii Buford put up 18 and Sydni Means added 15 in the Spartans’ 72-43 win. Jefferson’s achilles’ heel was turning the ball over and staying in foul trouble. Two costly turnovers by Jefferson handed the Spartans a 6-0 advantage in the first quarter. Head Coach Jason Gibson reloaded with new ammo as the starting five took its first break of the day but not before trimming its deficit to one.
With less than five to play before the break, the Dragons were down 22-19 but sent GAC to the foul line twice in less than a minute, allowing the Spartans’ lead to grow by four.
A common theme for Jefferson was missed opportunities; when GAC failed to run their plays effectively, Jefferson failed to create easy turnovers. The nightmare continued for JHS as its deficit grew to 30 late in the fourth.
In the second round, Jefferson turned things around with a 57-46 win over Monroe Area High School. The Dragons didn’t exactly cure its foul trouble yet the Hurricanes tortured itself so much in that area that Jefferson’s mishaps looked minuscule.
Kellie Goza, who was named to the All-Tournament Team, attacked the backboard early on for JHS. She continued to be aggressive under the basket for Jefferson and helped seal a 25-21 lead at the top of the third. Dralynn Vaughn added two for a five-point advantage, and Jefferson continued to execute their screens and maintain a comfortable lead.
By the end of the third quarter, Jefferson looked like a different team from the one viewers saw the day before. The Dragons played solid in the paint and were not timid in securing rebounds. The Hurricanes crept back into the game but the Dragons never surrendered its lead.
In the final round, a fifth-place finish was up for grabs but Heritage High School served up a 49-31 loss for the Dragons. Jefferson’s dilemmas from the past came back to haunt them as they struggled at both ends of the floor.
The Patriots took Jefferson out of its element and held the Dragons to just six points at the end of the first quarter. JHS was forced to play a half court game where they lived underneath the Patriots’ basket for much of the contest.
The Lady Dragons will look to rebound against Oglethorpe County High School. The two became familiar with each other earlier this season and the Patriots will look to seek revenge against a Jefferson team that allowed just 18 points. Show time is set for 7:30 p.m. at OCHS.