Area Sports...

November 21, 2000

Tigers To Try Trion Friday
After relatively easy wins on both sides, the Commerce Tigers and Trion Bulldogs will match running game against running game in round two of the Class A playoffs Friday at 8:00 at Tiger Stadium.
While the Tigers had little trouble dispatching the fourth-seeded Warren County Screaming Blue Devils, Trion was merciless in its 53-6 stomping of Heard County. The Bulldogs are the second seed in Region 6A.
The Bulldogs will line up with two tight ends and a wing, "which gives us some problems from time to time," advised Coach Steve Savage. "Two tight ends make you even up. We kind of like to overload one side or the other. When you play even, they can find your weaknesses pretty quickly."
Trion has a 7-4 record. They got crushed by Buford 51-13 early in the season, then lost a close game to Bowden, which had barely lost to Buford.
"Something don't add up," said Savage. "Sometimes scores don't tell you much."
Trion's offense is centered around its quarterback, for which it has designed a number of running plays, Savage said, but they also have a quality fullback and a quality tailback.
"They like to run the football, but they do bootleg, which gives us some problems too. They run some sprint-out action" he said. "Their line of scrimmage is better than average. They've got two big tackles. One looks to be six-four, maybe 300 pounds.
Trion is coached by Bobby Johnson, who retired after a successful coaching career in Alabama.
"He is very disciplined. He won't do anything to beat himself and he'll just run, run, run," Savage stated. "We're going to have to stop their quarterback from running. They've got a lot of plays where he runs the ball."
Commerce will enter the game with no major injuries. Quarterback Michael Collins is fine, Savage said, after giving Tiger fans a scare late in the Warren County game, when he had to be helped off the field following a crack-back block to his knee. Collins came back into the game a few plays later, much to the relief of the Tiger faithful, before being relieved by Rob Brown.
And Monté Williams will probably pass another milestone. He needs but 18 yards Friday night to take over the number 10 spot on the national list of high school rushers. His career total is 8,207 yards.

Banks teams fall in opening bout, to face Towns County Tuesday
Though both the Lady Leopards and Leopards were downed in the first round of the Pepsi Tipoff Tournament Saturday, the games were a much-needed assessment for both teams.
Banks County will take a short break over the Thanksgiving holiday before taking to the court next Tuesday. Both teams will travel to Hiawassee to face region foe Towns County.
Banks County was scheduled to compete in the consolation games of the Pepsi Tipoff Tournament Tuesday evening against Lumpkin County. However, due to an early deadline because of Thanksgiving, results of the contest were not available at press time.
Girls coach Mike Gordon and boys coach Mike Ruth will get the upcoming schedule break to mull over their team's performances and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.
Going into Saturday's game, the Leopards knew Johnson would fight hard and fast. Indeed, the Knights did, winning the contest 88-80.
"They put the pressure on us and we gave in," Ruth said. "The fatigue factor set in on us."
Johnson dominated Banks County in the first quarter with an aggressive defensive attack and fast offensive runs. The Knights quickly jumped out to a 27-15 first quarter lead.
But midway through the second quarter, the Leopards narrowed the gap. Utilizing its height advantage, Banks County blocked several shots and brought the game more under control.
And just as the half closed, Bray Maxwell sank a shot to cut Johnson's lead to 43-42.
Within one minute of the opening of the second half, the Leopards tied the game at 46-46.
"They jumped on us in the first quarter, but we made some adjustments at the half," Ruth said.
From there, Banks County would effectively slow the pace of the game, helping themselves to a 63-58 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Midway through the fourth quarter, the contest heated. The game got closer as the emotions on both sides of the stands erupted in the boys' opening bout.
With under five minutes to play, Banks County's leading scorer Victor Bonds fouled out.
"When Victor fouled out, that was crucial for us," Ruth said. "If we could have kept him in, we would've gotten more boards."
Less than a minute later, Johnson senior Kyle Prater fouled out.
From there, both teams traded the lead several times. One team went up and the other would score to tie the game.
As the 2:30 mark approached, the scoring gap widened in the Knights' favor. Johnson hit a three to pull ahead 79-76. Banks County lost a pass after inbounding the ball but was quickly fouled to regain possession.
The Leopards sank only one of their free throw shots. The Knights nabbed the rebound on the second shot and drove down court to score, going ahead 81-76.
Banks County was fouled again on their next possession but couldn't hit either free throw. The Leopards were four for 12 on free throws in the last five minutes of the game, a definite factor in the outcome. The Knights hit 57 percent of their free throws over the same time period.
From there, Johnson went on to increase its lead and eventually end the game with an 88-80 win.
Banks County hit only 21 of its 43 free throw attempts Saturday. The missed 22 points would have put the Leopards clear ahead of Johnson.
"In the fourth quarter, we shot five for 17 from the free throw line," Ruth said. "That's the difference in the ball game right there."
But for a team having three starters with only one week of practice time, Banks County showed surprising togetherness and smooth functioning.
"I think we played pretty well," Ruth said.
Bonds led the scoring attack for the Leopards, picking up 22 points before fouling out. Casey Murray and Mike Ivey also hit double digits for Banks County, with 17 and 14 points respectively.
Other Leopards scorers included: C. Ivey, nine; Maxwell, eight; Cody Whitlock, seven; and Will Gordon, three.
Banks County will be without C. Ivey for the Lumpkin County game in the Pepsi Tipoff Tournament and for the Towns County game. Ivey was suspeneded for two games for disiplinary reasons.
Johnson's agressive attack on the Lady Leopards forced 33 turnovers and virtually shut down Banks County's offense as the Knights pulled a 72-52 victory Saturday night.
"Going against that kind of agressive defensive attack, our inexperience showed," Gordon said. "We panicked. We scattered like a covy of quail."
The Lady Leopards also had trouble at the free throw line, hitting only 11 out of 27 shots.
Banks County fell behind early in the contest, down 23-10 at the end of the first quarter. The Lady Leopards evened the scoring in the second quarter but were still behind 36-23 at the half.
In the third quarter, the Banks County girls began to catch up to the Lady Knights. At one point, the Lady Leopards were within eight points of Johnson.
"Johnson made some threes and we had some turnovers and they were right back out ahead again," Gordon said.
At the end of the third, Lady Leopard Haley Crumley hit a three from near half court to cut the margin to 57-44.
But Johnson pulled farther out ahead in the final quarter of play to take the win.
Despite Banks County's troubles, Gordon said the game offered valuable press experience for the girls-a press they will likely see in Towns County next week.
"It was frustrating, but I didn't see anything we couldn't fix," Gordon said. "We had real balanced scoring."
Four Lady Leopards landed in double digits on the scoreboard Saturday night.
Crumley led the scoring with 11 points. Laura Carlyle, Ashley Freeman and Megan Williams all added 10 points.
Other scoreres included: Joni Martin, four; Dana Garrish and Chastico Beasley, two; and Taffy Carruth, one.

Wrestling teams gear up for 2000-01
When the last regular-season touchdown has been scored and the uniforms washed and hung in storage, it's just about time for wrestling season. Practice began at Jackson County last week, and at Jefferson Monday.
The Panthers traveled to South Forsyth for a three-way dual match Tuesday night with the War Eagles and North Hall. Jackson County's next date on the schedule is Dec. 1, day one of the Panther Invitational. The two-day tournament will be the season debut for Jefferson's 2000-01 squad, as well as for first-year head coach Doug Thurmond.
Uncertainty is the key word for the Jefferson wrestling team. Though the team didn't begin practice until Monday due to football, Thurmond is more concerned about having to replace 10 seniors from last year's team.
"Right now, we have five starters back out of 14," Thurmond said. That list includes two juniors - Blake Gooch and Chris Seibert - and three sophomores, Jeremy Smith, Jeremiah Wilson, and returning state champion Hunter Garner. Also returning is Nathaniel Wilson, who missed much of last season due to injury.
Three potential starters were lost when their families moved out of the school district, and at least one former starter and two former JV wrestlers have chosen not to participate during the 2000-01 season.
"I don't really know what we've got; we haven't even been on the mat yet," Thurmond said Monday. "We're just getting going, but we're looking forward to the season. We're going to be real young. We've got some building to do. We've got some good wrestlers who've moved up from the eighth grade team, but it's totally different going from eighth grade to varsity."
Jackson County's wrestling team started the season Monday with an emphatic thumping of the Johnson Knights, 73-6. Jason Powers, Chris Kinsey, Sherman Herrington, Matt Potts, Jared Herrington, Adam Ledbetter, Travis Ingram, Lee Reece, Kyle Davis, Casey Berryman and Brian Gower all had pins for the Panthers. Andrew Beauchamp and Chris Kubiak added team points with decisions, and Rusty Colley tacked on six via forfeit.
Dacula offered the Panthers a more formidable challenge, but Jackson County dispatched the Falcons 49-29 in the nightcap. Kinsey, Ingram, Davis and Gower all won by pin, Powers by forfiet and Colley by injury default. Potts and Ledbetter both earned decisions.
Nine Panther middle school wrestlers picked up hardware at the North Hall middle school tournament held last weekend, according to team coach Stacey Hanley.
Marshall Collins (143 lbs.) was the group's sole tournament champion. Tate Massey and Tyler Massey each earned silver medals. David Crocitto, Will Jackson, Robert McVay and Josh Austin all finished third, and Andy O'Reilly and Cody Sanders were fourth.

Hardcourt Dragons, Panthers enjoy tournament success
Both local high schools were in the midst of season-opening basketball tournaments at press time Tuesday.
Jackson County played host to the Pepsi Tipoff Challenge, and Jefferson was to compete in day two of the four-day Sonny's Smokin' Shootout.
Wins were in abundance for area basketball teams Saturday, as both the Jackson County Panthers and Jefferson Dragons swept their opponents in their respective tournaments.
Jefferson's girls blew away Crescent, S.C., 103-20, and the boys followed suit with a 76-52 over Crescent's boys.
Holy Innocents also swept to wins in the Shootout at Jefferson. Other winners were Providence (boys), Pace Academy (boys), West Hall (girls) and Greater Atlanta Christian (girls).
In Jackson County's Classic, the Lady Panthers got their season off on the right foot with a convincing 57-27 victory over Lumpkin County. Ron Garren's boys overcame a sluggish second quarter to put Lumpkin's boys away, 60-45.
All four teams were to be in action again Tuesday evening, with both Jackson County teams playing for tournament championships against Johnson.
Jefferson's teams both needed one more win Tuesday night to qualify for their championship rounds.
Jackson County's freshman boys' team also won Saturday, 61-43 over Monroe Area, according to coach Bob Roller.
The Panthers blew the game open with a 15-4 margin in the second quarter, to go up 27-12 at halftime.
For more in-depth varsity results, see this week's Jackson Herald.

Lady Raiders destroy Apalachee 75-7, top Athens Christian
Someone needs to dust off the Lady Raiders' record book to find the last time the squad won by 68 points - or held an opponent under ten points.
Both happened Saturday night in Danielsville as the Madison County girls gave first-year competitors Apalachee a rude welcome to the sport of girls' basketball in a 75-7 shellacking in the first round of the Northeast Georgia Tip-off classic.
The win over the Lady Wildcats followed a 46-27 thumping of Athens Christian Friday night on the road.
Saturday vs. apalachee
Madison County's pressure defense overwhelmed Apalachee Saturday night in Danielsville in a the lopsided Lady Raider win.
Madison County scored the first 17 points of the game, before Apalachee finally got on board with a bucket with 1:11 to go in the first quarter.
The Barrow County squad followed with another basket the next time down the floor, but the team was held scoreless until late in the third quarter. The Lady Raiders carried a 39-4 lead into intermission. With less than three minutes left in the period Apalachee hit a free throw to cut the lead to 55-5.
Tera Bellamy led Madison County with 13 points. Aiyana Hunter had 10. Heather Jones and Stacie Beard posted nine each. Sheena Mason had eight. Ashley Myers finished with seven. Ashley Collins and Valerie Norman tallied five. Brittney Escoe had four. Tiffany Ledford finished with three and Rebekah Faulkner added two.
friday vs.
athens christian
After falling into a third-quarter cold slump as frigid as the North Georgia weekend weather, the Madison County Lady Raiders threw a couple of logs on their fire in the fourth quarter of their Friday contest against Athens Christian, outscoring them 14-4 in the final period of play to pick up a comfortable 46-27 win on the road in their season-opening win.
Leading the effort was senior post player Ashley Myers, who racked up 19 points on the night-nine of which came in second quarter. Senior Heather Jones also registered in double figures, throwing in 10 points.
Madison County had a comfortable 30-13 halftime lead in the low-scoring contest, but it soon narrowed.
The Lady Raiders picked up the first bucket of the second half at the 6:54 mark in the third quarter, but those were the only points they would put on the scoreboard in the period.
With the Lady Raiders struggling to find the basket, Athens Christian then climbed back in the game. Led by Lindsay Daniel, who had 17 points on the night, Athens Christian scored 10 consecutive points to end the quarter, cutting Madison County's edge to 32-23 heading into the final period of play.
However, the Lady Raiders made sure the Lady Eagles' comeback campaign didn't extend to the fourth quarter.
Myers broke Madison County's seven-minute scoring drought with a basket in the opening moments of the final period, sparking a 12-2 run which put away the Lady Eagles, pushing the lead to 44-25 with just under two minutes left to play in the contest.
The Lady Raiders started out slow at the onset of the contest, finding themselves trailing 5-3 to Athens Christian three minutes into the game. But Jones responded with two consecutive baskets to spark a 7-0 run to end the quarter, giving Madison County a 10-5 edge.
Myers then displayed her dominance in the second quarter, scoring the first seven points of the period, contributing to an 11-1 Lady Raider run that pushed their lead to 28-10 with 2:30 remaining in the first half.
Other Madison County players chipping in points during the win were Brittney Escoe, who had four; Aiyana Hunter and Renee Mathews, who both had three; Stacie Beard, Mason and senior transfer Tera Bellamy, who had two; and Ashley Collins, who had one.

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