On senior night at Jefferson High School, the girls’ and boys’ squads knew they wanted to go out with a bang against their biggest foe Commerce High School. They knew it wouldn’t be easy and it would be physical, however, both teams got their desired wins.
Satchel Turpin led the boys’ team with 15 points and Kendrick Robinson added 13 points.
Robinson also went 9-for-12 from the free-throw line. Tyler Patrick added 10 points for the Dragons as well. The free throws had been an Achilles’ heel for the Dragons, but on Friday night, Head Coach Bolling Dubose said he thought they shot better than they had for most of the year.
“I felt all year that we were better shooters than we were showing. Tonight, it had a bigger effect on the game,” Dubose said. “That had a lot to do with it. We wanted to make it a fast-pace game. We wanted to have an up-tempo game and run with the ball. I just thought the first half we let them dictate the tempo. We gave them a lot of second and third shots so we didn’t get a lot of defensive rebounds, which meant we couldn’t run the ball. We were just not playing the way we talked about playing.”
For the Tigers, Thomas McMillan was their driving force on offense. He scored a game-high 27 points. The Tigers jumped out to a fast 5-0 start in the first quarter. McMillan scored eight points in the first quarter and Commerce led 10-7 after the first quarter.
In the second, the Dragons answered back. They took the lead midway through the quarter, but Commerce stole it by one. However when Jefferson was down 20-18, Patrick hit two free-throw shots near the end of the quarter to tie the game at 20 all. The second quarter saw the lead change hands twice and the game was tied on four occasions in the quarter.
“I went in there at halftime and said, ‘Look, whose tempo is this, ours or theirs? All we talked about at halftime was picking up our tempo. We’ve had to pressure them. We’ve had to make them start running,” Dubose said.
The third quarter ended like the first half did with both teams tied up at 39 apiece. However, the Dragons kept their foot on the gas and scored 24 points in the fourth quarter. Robinson scored 10 of his 13 points in the fourth.
“I thought they tried to run with us and the in the second half, [more so] in the latter part of the third quarter and throughout the fourth quarter. That’s where the tempo picked up. That was to our advantage. We end up scoring 43 points in the second half because the tempo picked up,” Dubose said. “I thought the guys carried out the game plan a lot better by picking up the tempo in the second half. The free throws were big, especially in the fourth quarter; 11 of 14 will win you a lot of games.”
The Lady Dragons did have to worry too much about free throws. They had a dominating 56-31 win over the Tigers. They were led by seniors Sarah Wood, who scored a game high 12 points and Jakeia Wilson added 10 points and was 5 of 7 from the free throw line.
The victory was a wire-to-wire win for the Lady Dragons who didn’t give up the lead at any point during the game. Commerce was led by McClain Martin who scored 11 points. Hannah Davis added eight points.
Wood scored seven of her 12 points in the first quarter for the Lady Dragons but, there was a second-half surge that separated the Lady Dragons from the Lady Tigers, as they held the opposition to 11 second half points while scoring 31 point alone in the second half.