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High school basketball: East Hall boys dropped by talented Jefferson at Valhalla
East Hall's Christian Torres (10) looks to dribble inside against Jefferson on Friday in Gainesville. Photo by Bill Murphy

Jefferson High's basketball squad is just as good as East Hall coach Tommy Yancey.

The Dragons shot the ball well and pushed the tempo before holding on for a 71-63 Region 8-4A on Friday at Valhalla.

“They are what we thought they were,” Yancey said. “They are a quality team.”

Jefferson (15-1, 5-0) established itself early by speeding the Vikings up. 

The Dragons were all over the floor on both ends. 

On the offensive end, Jefferson’s players found themselves open at every chance possible.

One jumper led to another open jumper and eventually a Dragons lead.

Jefferson continued to apply pressure with its offensive shooting and then made things difficult for East Hall on the defensive end. 

The Dragons' strategy was enough to help secure a 44-34 halftime lead.

“I felt like we could speed them up,” Jefferson coach Kevin Morris said. “Our depth helped us.”

East Hall, which had its seven-game winning streak snapped, made some adjustments in the second half. 

The Vikings’ defense made sure to pick things up. 

They were able to get out on the Dragons to put some disruption in the offense.

There were moments East Hall cut the lead down to six, but every time they got that close, Jefferson would hit an open 3-pointer to stop any momentum.

“We weren’t prepared in the first half,” Yancey said. “I have to do a better job preparing our guys. I put it all on me.”

Yancey asked his team to give it all they had to start the fourth quarter. 

His players gave it all they had, but it wasn’t enough against a well-oiled program.

The Dragons had four players in double figures were led by Dalen Gales, who finished with a team-high 15 points. 

JT Fulkrod and Riley Holliman scored 11 points apiece for Jefferson, while Jaden Butts added 10 points.

East Hall was led by Christian Torres, who scored a game-high 17 points. 

Also for the Vikings, Clete Cooper scored 16 points, and  CJ Agborsangaya added 10 points. 

JEFFERSON GIRLS 57, EAST HALL 35: Everything worked as Jefferson wanted in the first quarter.

The Lady Dragons took a 14-2 lead the first eight minutes of the game and never looked back.

“They (East Hall) are a dangerous shooting team,” Jefferson coach Greg Brown said. “We did a good job defensively, keeping them off the line. Then, we were good offensively when we needed to be.”

Ellie Kilaw set the offensive tone for Jefferson with a game-high 21 points.

Natalia Bolden chipped in with 11 points for the Lady Dragons,  while Haley Triaga added eight points.

Jefferson then just payed its signature defense for the remainder of the game to seal the win.

“They shot it well,” Lady Vikings coach Justin Wheeler said. “If we do what we’re supposed to do defensively, things would be different.”

East Hall attempted to make a comeback in the fourth quarter.

The Lady Vikings kept things a lot closer being a lot more aggressive defensively, which helped ignite the scoring and build confidence offensively.

Lady Vikings (8-7, 1-3 Region 8-4A) senior Alexis Burce finished with a team-high 11 points.

Maleah Harrison, a junior, had nine points for East Hall, while senior Audrey Griffin ended the game with seven points.

“We play better when we’re aggressive,” Wheeler said. “We have to find the right balance.”

Up next, East Hall visits North Oconee at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Bogart.