Turns out, it was.
Sandy Creek was in control throughout most of the game as the Lady Patriots (13-2) won 48-41 to improve to 4-0 in Region 5-AAAA play.
The loss was the second in a row for the Lady Grangers (12-3 overall), who fell to 3-2 in the region.
“Yeah, they are tough,” Jones said of Sandy Creek. “We’ve got to play better defense. We’ve got to knock some shots down, we’ve got to finish around the goal and we’ve got to play better defense.”
Sandy Creek led 12-10 after the first quarter and extended that to 25-18 at intermission.
It was 35-27 after three quarters, but midway through the third quarter, the Lady Patriots began to show signs of cooling down after Jones implemented more full-court defensive pressure that rattled the Patriots into making several turnovers.
The Lady Grangers pulled within six points on a couple of occasions, but not any closer until the fourth quarter when Sandy Creek, after scoring at will most the night, went on a cold streak that LaGrange was able to exploit, thanks to that extra defensive pressure.
It seemed as if Sandy Creek’s plan in the fourth quarter was to play a cat-and-mouse game, not shooting and trying to burn some time off the clock.
LaGrange had its best opportunity of the night to tie the game and perhaps take a lead toward the end of the game.
“We needed to just relax,” Jones remarked. “We were rushing our offense because they brought a lot of man pressure out.”
LaGrange managed to get within two points when center KaBrenna Smith put in a layup with 2:35 to go. But that was as close as it got as the Lady Patriots hit their free throws down the stretch.
“We did exactly what we wanted to do,” Jones added. “We pressed them and forced them to make a bad shot and got four or five rebounds. I think they were one of five going down and breaking our press. Unfortunately, we couldn’t finish on the other end and then we had to start fouling and they made their free throws and I think we missed a few at the end that would have helped us.”
LaGrange was led in scoring by Smith and Brittany Tatum, who each had 12 points. Steara Mitchell added eight points.
LaGrange will play a pair of region games this weekend, the first on Friday at Troup.
Then it’s back home on Saturday against Carrollton.