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Collins Scores 1,000
Just 16 games into his junior season, Commerce's Michael Collins reached a milestone worthy of a complete basketball career this weekend.
Scoring his 1,000th point, Collins climbed to fifth on the school's career scoring list.
"Scoring 1,000 points in a career is quite an achievement," Commerce coach Rex Gregg said. "To do it as a junior is even more."
Though the achievement is noteworthy, Collins did not know he had reached the milestone until Monday.
"I knew I was getting close, but I didn't know when it happened," Collins said. "Coach Gregg came up to me Monday and shook my hand and congratulated me for scoring 1,000 points."
But reaching the scoring milestone in three years is not the only thing Collins wants to add to as a junior. After making the state playoffs as a freshman and sophomore, Collins is looking to keep that streak alive.
"I want to keep my average up, but as long as we get the 'W' at the end of the game that's all that really matters," Collins said. "I want to get back to state and do better than we did the past two years. Going twice was good, going three times would be better. I want to go next year, too."
The scoring mark was not the only achievement Collins reached this weekend.
Against Jefferson, Collins posted his first triple-double of his career, with 21 points, 16 rebounds and 12 assists.

Final Week Decides Subregion Seeding
Where Commerce's basketball teams play in next week's subregion tournament will depend on the school's final three regular season games.
The boys' team has a chance to finish second. The Lady Tigers can finish in third place and avoid playing Buford until the tournament finals.
Commerce was to have played Wesleyan Tuesday night, but results were not available at press time. The two teams are scheduled to close out the regular season Saturday night.
The Tiger teams will play Greater Atlanta Christian Friday night in Norcross.
For more on the subregion tournament, please turn to page 3B.
Commerce's boys picked up a pair of wins over the weekend. The Tigers beat Providence 70-65 last Wednesday night. The boys used a fast start to hold off Jefferson 91-86 Friday night.
The Lady Tigers took two losses. Providence won last Wednesday 48-30. Jefferson topped Commerce 55-40 Friday.
Commerce's games with Banks County last Saturday was cancelled due to cold weather.
Daniel Carder's experience as the Commerce Tiger quarterback came into play in the basketball win last Wednesday at Providence. At the close of the third quarter, Carder beat the buzzer with an 80-foot three-pointer.
The shot gave Commerce its first lead since the first quarter at 47-46. The Tigers held off Providence for the 70-65 win. Michael Collins was plagued by foul trouble in the game. But the rest of the team responded to help lift Commerce over the Stars.
"It was probably the smartest we've played all year," boys' coach Rex Gregg said. "Michael played about two minutes in the second half, but Monté Williams and Brody Bearden played real well off the bench."
Williams had eight points and two assists. Bearden hit a three-pointer off the bench keep Commerce headed in the right direction.
Collins fouled out with just less than three minutes to play in the game. He finished with 14 points and eight rebounds.
Carder led the team with 22 points and added eight boards. Twion Shealer had a double-double with 14 points and 15 rebounds. R.T. Poole had six points and five rebounds.
Former Jefferson player Wes Massey hit four of his first five three-point attempts against his former mates, including his first three shots from outside the arc. The quick start gave Commerce a 34-18 edge at the end of the first quarter. Jefferson battled back, cutting the lead to 10 at the half.
Foul shots helped the Dragons close the gap over the game. Commerce shot six of 18 from the line, while Jefferson hit on 10 of its 11 foul shots.
Collins had his first career triple-double against the Dragons. Collins had 21 points, 16 rebounds and 12 assists.
Carder also had a first with his career best 35 points. Carder added 14 boards and five assists. Massey closed out the game with 13 points and five assists. Shealer scored 14 points and grabbed 12 points for his second straight double-double.
Poole had six points and three boards to give a boost off the bench for the Tigers, after missing much of the first part of the season from a shoulder injury.
"R.T. has made a big difference," Gregg said. "If he had been playing all along, his numbers would be better."
Two straight losses by the Lady Tigers have made the final week important for seeding in the subregion tournament.
"If we had won one of those games last week, we'd be in a better position this week," girls' coach Don Watkins said. "But we've just got to go out and do well with the games we have left."
Providence had a 28-10 lead at the half that made the difference. Commerce played even with the Stars in the second half, 20-20.
Sheka Wheeler led Commerce with 10 points. Monique Diamond had nine points and eight rebounds. Charlene Gaither had six points.
Jefferson used a 19-5 run in the third quarter to pull away from the Lady Tigers Friday night.
Wheeler had 13 points and 10 rebounds to lead Commerce. Shemika Reed had 12 points. Gaither had 11 points and five rebounds.

Mat Tigers Hit Area Roaring
CHS pins Jefferson
After meeting in tournament and dual matches all year, Commerce and Jefferson will get another chance to go head-to-head this Saturday at the Area 4 wrestling tournament at Dawson County.
Commerce enters the area tournament on the heels of a win in a dual match with Jefferson last Tuesday.
Commerce also downed Madison County in the third match of the night last Tuesday.
Commerce, Jefferson and Dawson County come into the area tournament ranked in the top 10 in the state.
Commerce is ranked fifth in Class A by the poll compiled by "Dr. John" Raber.
Jefferson is second in the poll. Dawson County is tied for 10th.
Lovett, last year's Class A champion, is ranked number one. At fourth and fifth respectively, Landmark Christian and J.T. Walker round out the top five rankings in the state.
Jefferson, Commerce and Dawson County finished in the top three at area last year. The trio also finished in the top 10 at the state tournament.
Commerce downed rival Jefferson 40-28 last Tuesday. The Mat Tigers completed a sweep in the meet, beating Madison County 59-12.
Chad Scoggins, Eric Moore and John Martin won both their matches Tuesday by pin.
Also winning both their matches Tuesday were: Blake Milford, Lee Sorrow, Wes Smith, Adam Perry and Tyson Brown.
After the first five bouts, Jefferson posted a 21-3 lead. From that point, Commerce won all but two match-ups.
Going into the final bout, Commerce led 34-28. A pin by Jefferson would have tied the match, but Martin's pin sealed the win for Commerce.
Kyle Moore, Daniel Arwood and Taylor Massey each had wins against Madison County.
Greg Elrod, Kevin Wilson, Chris Wilkie and Nick Cox won their junior varsity matches.

BCHS to close out regular season
Leopards to honor seniors at final home game Friday night
The regular season will end this weekend as Banks County hosts Towns County Friday night.
Seniors for both basketball teams and the cheerleaders will be recognized Friday for Senior Night.
Banks County's boys have won their last two games. The Leopards downed Dawson County77-65 Friday night. Union County fell to the boys Tuesday night by the score of 82-77.
The Lady Leopards split their last two subregion games with Dawson County and Union County.
Banks County's girls got their eighth subregion win Friday over Dawson County, 51-44.
Union County got the best of the girls Tuesday night, 51-49.
Saturday night's game with Commerce was cancelled due to bad weather and will not be made up.
The Leopard basketball teams will play next week in the Region 8-A North tournament at Towns County.
For more information on the tournament, please turn to page 2B.
Banks County's boys used a strong start to hold off Dawson County last Friday.
The Leopards had a 25-13 advantage over the Tigers at the end of the first period.
Picking up the pace made a big difference, Leopards coach Mike Ruth said.
"We came out strong in the first quarter," Ruth said. "We moved the ball well and started running a little more. We were able to put some pressure on the defense. We used some full-court presses."
The difference between the teams' first meeting, which saw Dawson County take the win, and the game Friday was defense, Ruth said.
"Dawson beat us the first time because we didn't do well on the boards. Friday night we had 33 defensive rebounds. They were pretty much stuck with one-and-done on their shooting."
Mike Ivey led the team with 27 points, including six three-pointers.
Victor Bonds had 20 points and 14 rebounds. Blakley Crumley had 14 points and 18 boards.
Justin Smith added eight points.
Getting the win against Union County in Blairsville was an achievement, Ruth said.
"It's very hard to win up there," Ruth said. "We haven't been able to do that too many times. But you could see when we got off the bus we were determined.
"There was no cutting up. No messing around. We go on the floor and played hard."
Banks County started the game on a sour note, however. Union County opened a 10-2 edge to start the game.
After a timeout, Banks County set the course, going on a 20-0 run. By the end of the quarter, the Leopards had finished a 25-2 run.
"We started knocking down our shots and doing a great job defensively."
The team finished with 24 defensive rebounds.
Shooting improved from the last meeting with the Panthers, too.
After shooting 28 percent in the first meeting, the Leopards connected on 54 percent of their field goals Tuesday.
Banks County also hit 11 three-point shots for a 56 percent average from outside the arc.
M. Ivey had 32 points. Smith had 26 points. Crumley scored 18.
Casey Murray and Bray Maxwell did not figure highly in the scorebook, but Ruth was pleased with the effort they each provided in other areas.
"Casey has done a good job for defensively," Ruth said. "He was part of the reason we were able to put pressure on them.
"Bray Maxwell had two points, but he did a super job running the offense for us."
Bree Whitlock continued her offensive explosion against Dawson County, scoring 26 of Banks County's 51 points in the game. Haley Crumley added 14 points.
The girls dropped their subregion record to 8-6 with the 51-49 loss to Union County.

Wrestlers in area tourney Sat. at Dawson County
The Area 4-A tournament will be held this Saturday at Dawson County High school. A total of 10 schools will compete at the event which qualifies individuals for the state tournament.
In addition to Banks County, other schools participating in the event include: Buford, Dawson County, Commerce, Jefferson, Riverside, Twiggs County, Social Circle, Washington-Wilkes and Oglethorpe County.
The event will be split into two sessions. Admission for each session is $7 or $10 for an all-day ticket.
The first session begins at 9 a.m. and runs through all rounds but the championships. The first round will have three matches going simultaneously.
When only the finals remain, the gym will be cleared of those who do not have an all-day ticket.
Final matches will be held with one mat and constitute the second session.
Breaking the tournament into two sessions and ticket prices are set by the Georgia High School Association.
The entrance to the Dawson County gym is behind the school.
Parking is on the far left side of the school.

Subregion tourney starts next week
The Region 8-A North basketball tournament will begin next week at Towns County High School.
A total of nine teams will compete in the tournament.
In addition to Banks County, other teams competing in the region for basketball include: Rabun County, Dawson County, Towns County, Union County, Tallulah Falls, Rabun Gap, Lakeview Academy, and Woody Gap.
Woody Gap, which does not play a subregion schedule, is allowed to enter the tournament as the ninth seed in both tournaments. Woody Gap's teams will play the eighth seeds. After those games the tournament is run like an eight-team event.
The two teams in each of the subregion finals advance to the region tournament in Jefferson Feb. 12.
Each team in the subregion finals also is guaranteed a spot in the first round of the state tournament.
State playoff teams from Region 8-A will match up with teams from Region 7-A in the first round. Region 7-A will host those games at Hancock Central High School in Sparta Feb. 18-19.

Lady Dragons finish 7-3, take second in subregion play
Jefferson High School will host region 8A tournament action beginning Monday. South subregion games will be held through Friday, and the region tournament is scheduled for Saturday.
Admission to tournament games is $5. School officials stressed this week that local game passes will not be valid for the tournaments. According to GHSA rules, school passes, season tickets and Jefferson Booster Club passes are not valid for region and subregion tournaments. Official GHSA coaches' passes will be honored.
Jefferson teams took a pair of losses Tuesday at the hands of highly ranked teams at Holy Innocents. The top-ranked Golden Bears gave Jefferson their eleventh loss of the season, after the Lady Dragons hung close in a 51-41 loss to the fifth-ranked Lady Bears.
In an exhilarating evening of basketball last Friday, Jefferson's girls locked up second place in the subregion with a 55-40 win over Commerce. The Lady Dragons wrapped up regular-season subregion play at 7-3, while Commerce stands at 4-4 after defeating Wesleyan Tuesday. The Lady Tigers need a win over Greater Atlanta Christian Friday in order to retain third.
Staci Childress continued her hot streak for Jefferson with 11 points, 13 assists, seven rebounds and four steals. Annie Goza led the team with 21 points on 9-for-13 shooting from the field, and Lee DuBose put 13 on the board.
Jefferson's boys didn't fare quite as well. Former Dragon Wes Massey opened the game with a trio of three-pointers, leading Commerce in a 13-0 run after the tipoff. The rival teams shared a shooting spree from that point, racking up a total of 52 points in the first quarter. Jefferson shot well in attempting to overcome the deficit, but ran out of time. Commerce held on for the win, 91-86.
"I thought it was a real good game," said Jefferson coach Bolling DuBose. "We didn't lose because we played poorly; we lost because Commerce played better."
Buzz Wehunt led Jefferson with 30 points, Kyle Potts added 14 and Daniel Goza 12. DuBose had praise for Potts - who the coach said played his best game of the season - and for Wehunt.
"Everyone talks about Michael Collins," said DuBose, "but in two games, Collins has played Buzz man-to-man, and he's still scored 26 and 30 points. That says something about Buzz." Collins, a junior, is being looked at by a number of NCAA schools. Barring injury, Jefferson should enjoy sophomore Wehunt's skills for two more years.
The loss dropped Jefferson to 5-6 in subregion play, in fourth place. Commerce (7-3) grabbed a win over Wesleyan (1-8) Tuesday to seal no worse than third in the subregion. Jefferson will finish either fourth or fifth, but the difference is meaningless. The fourth and fifth seeds will meet in the opening game of the subregion tournament.

Dragons return from long layoff
Eleven days. That's how long Jefferson's varsity wrestlers will have gone without an official match as of Saturday. The stretch is the longest since the current season began in late November. Even the team's holiday break was only eight days.
The Dragons travel to Dawson County Saturday to participate in the area 4-A wrestling tournament. The top four finishers in each weight class will qualify for next weekend's state class A tournament at Riverside Military Academy.
Jefferson's most recent matches were last Tuesday at Commerce. Friday's dual match at Oconee County was cancelled due to inclement weather. For team members Steve Green, Justin Gooch and Michael Albea, Saturday's tournament will be the first time they've seen action since the snow-shortened Viking Classic two weeks ago. The Dragons need good showings from all three wrestlers this weekend in order to compete with Commerce, Dawson County, Riverside and Oglethorpe County.
Qualifying as many wrestlers as possible for the state tournament will be crucial to Jefferson's chances at Riverside. The Dragons will need help from other teams and plenty of luck to make a run at Lovett for the top spot in class A. The Lions have held the number-one ranking in class A since winning last year's tournament. 1999 runner-up Walker is third, just behind Jefferson.
Coach Jack Keen's Dragons finished the regular season last week at 12-2 in dual matches, closing Keen's career dual match record at 388-98-6. The team also claimed four tournament championships and one second place finish.
Other teams participating in Saturday's area tournament are Banks County, Buford, Georgia Military College, Social Circle, Twiggs County and Washington-Wilkes. Matches are set to begin at 9 a.m.

Panthers cap season with area wins
Jackson County's wrestling team will travel to Newton County this weekend, to participate in the area 8AAA tournament. The top four finishers in each weight class will qualify for the state AAA tournament next weekend in Columbus.
In addition to Jackson County, Area 8AAA features quality programs such as North Hall, Oconee County and Dacula. The Falcons have shown much improvement this year under head coach Cliff Ramos.
The Panthers capped off a successful regular season last Wednesday with a pair of wins over area rivals Oconee County and North Hall. Jackson County finished 6-2 against area opponents for the season, and 13-4 overall. The two area losses were to Habersham Central and Newton County.
North Hall, coming off a big win in the Hall County duals a week earlier, gave Jackson County some tough competition last week. The Trojans won five of 12 matches and took one forfeit, but wins in five of the first six weight classes gave the Panthers a 23-6 lead that would not be overcome.
North Hall closed the gap to 27-24 with three matches remaining, but a pin by Lee Reece at 185 insured the win. Jackson County took a forfeit at 275 to finish the scoring at 39-30.
Rusty Colley and Jarad Herrington won by pin, and Jason Powers, Brian Bowles and David Elkins took decisions. Stephen Ledbetter won a 15-0 technical fall at 135.
The Oconee County match was a different affair, with the Panthers sealing the win early. Jackson County took the first six weight classes, and Wesley Colley clinched the team win with a 12-5 decision at 145. After Adam Ledbetter took a forfeit win at 152, the rest of the match belonged to the Warriors. The final score was 42-30.
Also winning matches against Oconee were Powers, R. Colley, Herrington, Bowles and S. Ledbetter, all by pins. Josh Jackson took a 14-7 decision at 112.

Panthers take on West Hall Saturday
Jackson County's Lady Panthers struggled in their second subregion loss Tuesday at Stephens County, 51-48. Jackson County trailed throughout the game, but managed to tie with minutes left. A shot at the buzzer to force overtime was off the mark.
The Lady Panthers (14-7 / 7-2) need a win over West Hall Saturday to claim the top seed in subregion 8-AAA north. A loss would mean Jackson County could finish as low as third, after winning their first seven subregion games.
West Hall defeated Madison County Tuesday to move to 6-1. Beside Jackson County, the Lady Spartans still have games with North Hall (0-8) and Habersham Central (3-5) remaining. Madison County's loss drops them to 6-3, with Stephens County (2-5) remaining on the schedule.
The top two seeds from the subregion will take byes in the first round of next week's region tournament. Opening rounds of the tournament are hosted by the school with the highest seed, and games begin at 7 p.m. The tournament favorite is Central Gwinnett, ranked first in the state.
If the Lady Panthers finish first, they will likely face Stephens County next Wednesday at home, and avoid Central Gwinnett until the final round. The second seed would probably earn Jackson County a game with Newton County, also at home. A third-place finish would mean the Lady Panthers would face North Gwinnett, ranked seventh in the state. The Lady Bulldogs have defeated Jackson County twice during the regular season.
Ron Garren's boys are in a more difficult state. After losing to Stephens County Tuesday, the Panthers stand at 5-4 in subregion play, behind the Indians (5-2) and North Hall (6-2). In addition to winning Saturday, Jackson County needs Stephens County to beat the Trojans tonight, and for both teams to lose out from then on.
North Gwinnett and Newton County, ranked ninth and 10th in the most recent polls, will be heavy favorites in the region tournament. With only one game remaining, Jackson County could still finish anywhere from first to fifth in the subregion.

MCHS boys stomp Spartans by 52
Lady Raiders fall to West Hall 46-33
There was nothing but smiles on the boys' side on Tuesday night as the Red Raiders enjoyed their greatest offensive explosion of the season, thrashing the visiting West Hall Spartans 93-41 on Senior Night. The girls however, did not enjoy the same success as the Lady Raiders were dealt a tough 46-33 loss at home.
For the senior Red Raiders, their last memories on their home court will be nothing but pleasant ones.
Everything was falling for Madison County on Tuesday night as the squad battered the Spartans by an overwhelming 52-point deficit to pick up their seventh win of the season, sending the Raider seniors out in grand fashion.
Three players posted double figures with senior Chad Gillespie turning in a banner day, putting up 29 points to lead his squad.
Madison County stormed out of the gate, claiming a 10-2 lead with 5:17 left in the first quarter.
The Raiders, who fell to West Hall 77-74 on Jan. 7, followed that with a 12-2 run, taking a 22-4 edge, then leading by 19 after one period.
Madison County put together a 10-0 run during the second quarter to stretch their lead out to 29 points with 2:47 left to play in the half.
The Raiders, who held a 46-20 edge at intermission, did not ease up on the Spartans in the second half, outscoring the visiting squad 47-21 during the last two quarters of play.
Madison County opened up the third quarter with a 15-0 run to put the Spartans in a 42-point hole.
The Raiders, who led by a score of 74-30 at the end of three quarters, outscored West Hall 17-11 in the final eight minutes, getting a crowd-pleasing dunk from senior Jonathan Berrian at the 7:42 mark in the period.
Adding points in the contest were Berrian, who poured in 17 points; and Chris Lattimore, who had 12. Drew Sparks had nine, Jamaris Mattox and Trellis Appling both finished with six. Chad Youngblood and Donny Stamper tallied five apiece and Taylor Owen had four.
A second half collapse sealed the Lady Raiders' fate Tuesday night in a big region match-up as Madison County was topped 46-33 by the West Hall Lady Spartans.
The Lady Raider offense went cold during most of the second half as the Madison County squad, which trailed 18-17 at the half, was outscored 23-11 over the final 13:37 of the contest.
West Hall led 23-22 with 5:37 left to play in the third quarter.
However, the Lady Spartans, who defeated Madison County 51-38 on Jan. 7, gave themselves some breathing room, scoring the last four points of a defense-oriented third quarter to grab a 27-22 edge with eight minutes to play.
West Hall then pulled away during the final period, starting the quarter off with an 8-2 spurt to build a 37-24 advantage with just over three minutes left to play.
The Lady Raiders started the game out cold, quickly falling down by a score of 8-2 in the first quarter and trailing by three after one period.
However, Madison County - down 14-9 with 6:40 left in the half - went on an 8-2 spurt to claim a one point lead with 30 seconds left before intermission.
Leading the way for the Lady Raiders was senior standout Tawana Moon. Moon, who eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for her career earlier this year, tallied 17 points in her last game in front of the home crowd. Moon also picked up seven steals in the Lady Raiders' loss.
Also getting into the scorebook were Brittney Escoe with nine points, Ashley Myers, who had five; and Heather Jones, who had two.

Coach says Raiders ready for area tourney
Raider wrestling coach Greg Gaines says his team is ready for the area tournament, which will begin Saturday morning in Covington at Newton High School.
"We had a couple of hard days of practice last week and this week," said Gaines. "I think we're ready."
Madison County finished its regular season with a 15-17-2 record.
"I think that's a success," said Gaines, who added that his JV squad went 17-1.
The top four wrestlers from each weight category Saturday will advance to the state tournament in Columbus next week.
Last year, three Raider wrestlers - Gary Evans, Adam Thompson and Justin Shanken - qualified for the state tournament.
Evans, 36-4, and Thompson, 21-12, will seek another trip to the state meet Saturday. Raider Matt Cleghorne, 31-5, is another state hopeful.
The Raiders were scheduled to face West Hall Friday, but that match was canceled due to the weather. It will not be rescheduled.

Who wants it?
8-AAA north titles up in the air
North Georgia's recent winter storms have thrown the already jumbled 8-AAA north basketball races into complete disarray. With the region tournament only days away, six games still remain to be played. As if that weren't enough, both the boys' and girls' standings are tight enough to squeeze the sanity out of local coaches.
North Hall controls their own destiny in the boys' race. The Trojans (6-2) can at least tie for the top spot with a win tonight over Stephens County, and clinch with another over West Hall.
Stephens County (5-2) must win at least two of three over North Hall, Habersham Central and Madison County (2-7) to take the top seed.
Jackson County (5-4) has only a game with West Hall (2-5) left, and must depend on Stephens to beat North Hall and both teams to lose out from that point on.
Habersham Central (4-4) can finish as high as second, but must defeat both Stephens County and West Hall to do so. The Raiders would still need Jackson County to lose to West Hall Saturday.
The picture on the girls' side is a bit clearer.
West Hall (6-1) sits at the top, but needs a win over Jackson County (7-2) Saturday to hold it. The Panthers led the pack until last week, winning their first seven subregion games before losing to Madison County (6-3) and Stephens County (2-5). If West Hall defeats Jackson County but loses to either North Hall or Habersham Central, the Panthers and Spartans would tie for the top spot, which would be determined by a coin toss.
Jackson County (7-2) can rebound from a tough week and clinch the top seed with a win over West Hall Saturday. A loss would mean the Panthers have to depend on both North Hall (0-8) and Habersham Central (3-5) to defeat the Spartans. Jackson County would still have to win a coin toss to claim the top seed.
Madison County (6-3) could tie for first with Jackson County, but not West Hall. The Spartans won both meetings between the two teams this season.
The first and three seeds from the north will get byes in the first round of next week's region tournament, and will need to win only one game to make the state sectional tournament.
Round one will be held Monday (girls) and Tuesday (boys). Girls' quarterfinals will be Wednesday, and boys' Thursday.
The first two rounds of the region tournament will be hosted by the schools with the highest seeds. Seed four in the north will play at home, and seeds five and six will be on the road. All winners Monday and Tuesday will have to play on the road Wednesday and Thursday in round two.
Newton County will host the semifinal and final rounds of the region tournament next Friday and Saturday.



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