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Saturday May 28th, 2016 4:12AM

Class AA playoffs: Defense carries Jefferson into Elite 8 for first time since '06

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter
JEFFERSON -- Riding another solid defensive effort, the Jefferson girls advanced to the Class AA quarterfinals after a 44-33 win over Manchester Monday night in the state playoffs.

It is the first quarterfinal appearance for the Lady Dragons (21-9) since they advanced to the Class A Final Four in 2006.

"We're real excited about how we're playing right now," Jefferson coach Jason Gibson said. "It wasn't one of our prettier games but we got it done, especially on defense."

The Lady Dragons held Manchester to single-digit scoring in three quarters, including just three in the fourth quarter after the Blue Devils cut a 22-14 Jefferson lead to 35-30.

Junior Chandler Bragg paced Jefferson with 14 points. Freshman Abbie Franklin added 13 points. Hope Forrester had eight rebounds and three blocks for the Lady Dragons.

Jefferson came into the game allowing just 37.5 points a game on the season.

The Lady Dragons now will get the tall task of taking No. 1-ranked Wesleyan on Wednesday at home. The Lady Wolves advanced with an 84-48 victory over Calhoun Monday.

"Wesleyan is solid and will be a tough matchup for us," Gibson said. "But, we're going to be at home and hopefully our fans will come out and help us. Wesleyan has a tremendous press. We'll have to handle that well and rebound the ball.

"The key will be us just playing our game. If we can do that, we have a shot."
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