Area Sports...

November 29, 2000


Tigers Hope To Get It Right In Wrightsville
Call it the quarterfinals. Call it the "elite eight," but when the Commerce Tigers head south to Wrightsville Friday night, they go with the knowledge that any of the remaining eight teams could win the Class A state high school football championship.
To grab their second such title, the Tigers face the imposing task of winning three more games. A victory over the Johnson County Trojans means a return trip the following week to the Georgia Dome for the semifinal game, and a win there would lead to the state championship game in Commerce Dec. 15.
But first things first. Johnson County, ranked second in the state in Class A, is in a different league from the Tigers' past two playoff opponents.
"This week it's a different story. There are not but eight teams left. Three of them we beat, but they were all very close," pointed out Coach Steve Savage. "Any one of the eight teams could win it all."
Trion was big, but slow; Johnson County is big and fast.
"They are very athletic, very big and they can all run," Savage said. "They run a multiple offense, but you've got to say their base is an I-formation. Their quarterback is real quick, they've got a big fullback about 205 pounds and a big tailback, about 200 pounds."
The key for the defense will be to stop the quarterback, but that will be something of a challenge. According to Savage, the quarterback, though the catalyst for the run, can also throw.
"Their line of scrimmage is real good. They've got a center everyone (college scouts) wants, who's about 6-4, 275 pounds and a big tackle, who's about 6-3, 260 to 270."
The Trojans will play Commerce just like everyone else, Savage said.
"They'll put them all up there and dare you to throw," he stated. "They do that for everybody. They're good enough on the corners and secondary to play you man to man."
Savage says the Trojans are similar to Buford ­ although possibly quicker on defense.
For the Trojans to win, they'll have to contain both all-time Georgia rushing leader Monté Williams and quarterback Michael Collins. Trion "held" Williams to 97 yards and one touchdown, but that opened up holes for Collins, who ran for 163 yards and three TDs. And just to give Johnson County something else to think about, Collins connected with Rob Brown for a 30-yard touchdown pass.
Johnson County edged Taylor County 20-17 in the final minute of the game to advance to the match-up with Commerce.
This will mark the fourth year in a row that the Tigers have reached the quarterfinals, and the Tigers know that the going from this point forward is tough.
"We can't have a wasted down or a turnover," said Savage. "Right here's where anybody in the eight teams can win the thing."




Banks tops Lumpkin, falls to Towns
The Lady Leopards were able to pull out a 57-32 win over Lumpkin County to claim third place in the Pepsi Tipoff Tournament last week.
But after a long ride into the mountains Tuesday evening, the Banks County Lady Leopards fell to 1-2 on the season with a 64-51 defeat at the hands of Towns County.
"It was one of our better efforts in Towns County after the long ride," head coach Mike Gordon said.
Banks County was down by only four points at the half, but fell behind in the third quarter.
Haley Crumley led the Lady Leopards with 16 points. Ashley Freeman and Dana Garrish added nine points apiece.
LUMPKIN COUNTY
The Lady Leopard defense allowed no more than 10 points in any one quarter as they rode to their first victory of the season, defeating Lumpkin 57-32.
Despite having defensive troubles in their first outing, Banks County's girls were able to dominate Lumpkin underneath.
Banks County scored 14 points in the first three quarters and added 15 in the final quarter of play.
At the same time, Banks held the Lady Indians to seven points in the first quarter, 10 in the second, five in the third and 10 again in the fourth quarter.
Freeman led the Lady Leopards in scoring with 21 points. She also hit five of ten free throws.
Laura Carlyle was also in double digits for Banks County with 10 points and two of two free throws.
Other Lady Leopard scorers included: Crumley, eight; Megan Williams, six; Maggie Elrod, four; Joni Martin and Garrish, three; Laura Mitchell, two; and Ashley Campbell, one.
Collectively, Banks County hit 15 of its 30 free throw attempts.
For the story on how the boys' basketball team did, see this week's Banks County News.


Dragons to remember Goza Saturday night
The Jefferson High School basketball program will remember former Dragon star Daniel Goza in a special ceremony Saturday at home, when the Hart County Bulldogs are scheduled to visit. The Lady Dragons are set to tip off at 6 p.m., with the ceremony following prior to the boys' game. Head coach Bolling DuBose was reluctant to release detailed plans, but did say the memorial would be brief but fitting.
Jefferson's girls fell victim to a pair of ranked class AA teams during last week's Sonny's Smokin' Shootout at Jefferson, finishing fourth. DuBose's boys defeated Pace Academy to reach the final round, but fell to sixth-ranked Holy Innocents (AA), 62-56 in the championship game.
The game began with plenty of hard and fast action, with both teams looking strong on defense. After an early steal, Buzz Wehunt drove toward the basket, facing two defenders alone, but was called for the charge under the hoop. Wehunt returned moments later to ice a three-pointer that put Jefferson up 9-2.
Holy Innocents showed one reason why they are considered a top team in class AA, as they hit three unanswered three-pointers to take the lead, 11-9. Dantonio Chandler scored on a three with 90 seconds left in the first period, to close that quarter's score at 12-11, Jefferson.
The teams fought back and forth during the second before another Wehunt three-pointer gave the Dragons a 21-15 lead. Wehunt gave the enthusiastic home crowd even more reason to be heard just before the half, robbing the Bears' Patrick Ewing one-on-one.
Holy Innocents fought back, though, and trailed by only one at the half.
Wehunt and Shaudrick Martin started the third period with a bucket each. Wehunt then completed an astonishing play, falling down after grabbing a steal, but righting himself at the three-point line and drilling the bonus shot to give Jefferson a five-point lead.
Chandler then added another three, Tim Newton sunk a pair of field goals, Martin hit a no-look turn-around jumper and Michael Newton hit a three-pointer. The offensive outpouring still only added two points to Holy Innocents' deficit, making it 40-33 Jefferson with three minutes left in the third.
Ryan Gurley scored four and Chandler hit another three to close the quarter at 47-38.
Wehunt left the game momentarily after being injured while driving the baseline, but soon returned. In Wehunt's absence, Martin took over for Jefferson with aggressive play on both offense and defense.
However, the Bears found Ewing inside and picked up outside shots from tournament MVP Matt Richardson to claw back to a 51-51 tie and started running the clock.
On one possession, the Bears ran more than a minute off the clock before Wehunt was called for the foul. Moments later, Jefferson found themselves on the short end of a 57-51 deficit after an extended 19-4 run.
The Dragons began to foul with two minutes left, and Michael Newton hit a late three-pointer, but Holy Innocents was red-hot from the line to seal the win.
"That turned into a good basketball game from a fan's standpoint," DuBose said afterward, "but we really didn't play that well. I was disappointed, because we didn't play very smart. We made a number of unforced errors on offense. That makes you feel like you beat yourself." Richardson finished with six three-point plays on the night.
"We battled them on the boards," DuBose continued, "and we rebounded with them. You just can't let a good shooter like Richardson sit there and shoot threes all night. The effort was there, we just kind of beat ourselves. Still, we played two ranked AA teams; we beat one and could have beaten the other. I'd say we're a little bit ahead of where we want to be at this point."
Martin, Newton and Chandler combined for 24 rebounds in the game.
Against Pace Academy, Jefferson overcame a 30-22 first-period deficit to tie at 64 after three. Chandler led the Dragons to the win, scoring seven in the final quarter, including four free throws with less than 20 seconds left. Wehunt sent the Dragon faithful home with a roar, jamming the ball in on a long-hanging slam that came just after the buzzer and drew a huge response.
Wehunt and Martin picked up all-tournament team honors.
A pair of steals by Melinda Floyd and Brooklyne Marlowe's late three-pointer gave Kevin Jacobs' girls a 20-11 first-quarter lead over Greater Atlanta Christian, and the Lady Dragons stretched that lead to 37-21 at the half in the tournament semifinals.
Jefferson fell victim to the GAC defense in the second half, held to only 19 in the final two frames. Down by two, Lee DuBose tried a buzzer-beating three-point jumper at the top of the key to win, but the ball back-rimmed and bounced out to seal the win for the Spartans.
Brooklyne Marlowe led the Lady Dragons with 19, DuBose had 17 and Annie Goza put 11 points on the board. Staci Childress was Jefferson's sole member of the girls' all-tournament team.
After Saturday's meeting with Hart County, Jefferson travels to Athens Academy Tuesday at 6 p.m. The Dragons will host Wesleyan Dec. 9 for their region opener.


Panther Invitational this weekend
Jackson County Comprehensive High School will host the 7th annual Panther Invitational beginning Friday evening.
A number of strong teams are expected to compete, including 2000 class AA state champion Morgan County, class A runner-up Jefferson and class AA top-tens Loganville and Gilmer County, both of whom moved up to AAA this year.
The tournament marks the season debut of the Jefferson Dragons and first-year head coach Doug Thurmond. The Dragons enter the tournament as defending champions, having outpaced Westminster, Jackson County and Gilmer County last year by a narrow margin. Only 14 points separated the top four teams.
Returning local individual champions include Jeremiah Wilson (JEF-103), Rusty Colley (JAC-119), Jared Herrington (JAC-125) and Hunter Garner (JEF-140).
Wrestling is scheduled to begin Friday at 6 p.m., and semifinals will kick off Saturday's action at 10 a.m.
DUAL SPLIT FOR PANTHERS
Panther wrestlers split a pair of dual matches last Tuesday at South Forsyth, beating the host War Eagles 41-39 and dropping a 46-29 decision to North Hall.
Jason Powers, Sherman Herrington and Michael Henderson all picked up first-period pins against South Forsyth, and Matt Potts, Jared Herrington and Brian Gower also won by pin. Rusty Colley earned a 17-1 decision.
In the North Hall match, Powers, S. Herrington, Colley and Gower all scored pins and J. Herrington won 18-3.
Winning two JV matches each were Jacob Griffith, Justin Hill, James Sullivan, Andrew Beauchamp and Henderson. Chris Autry, Andy Crawford, Brandon Sims, Josh Poe, Josh Retkovsky, Seth Potts, Richie Elliot, Kyle Dondero and Marcell Allen grabbed one JV win apiece.
Jackson County will join Stephens County in travelling to Hart County Tuesday, and Jefferson will host Riverside Military Academy and North Hall.

Quick-start Raiders set to tangle with Monroe, Winder
After picking up three wins in their first four games this year, Steve Crouse's squad will look to continue their winning ways with upcoming road match-ups against Monroe Area and Winder Barrow (results of Tuesday night's home contest with Loganville were not available as of press time.)
The upstart Raider squad nabbed a win in their last contest of the Northeast Georgia Tip-off Classic last Tuesday, crushing Prince Avenue 82-66 while being edged out by Franklin County 72-62 Monday.
LAST TUESDAY VS.
PRINCE AVENUE
Trevelle Heard emerged as the go-to man in the Raiders' 16-point drumming of the Prince Avenue Wolverines. The senior poured in a career-high 27 points to guide Madison County to their third win of the 2000 season in a game that wasn't as close as the score indicated.
Crouse said after the game that he was happy his squad's performance against a feisty Wolverine outfit.
"I was really pleased with how they played tonight," he said. "They got things to work out there on the court. It was good to get a win against Prince Avenue-they play really tough.
The Raiders were a bit slow off the starting block in the last game of their home tournament as the Wolverines put the long ball to use early on, connecting on two three-pointers in the first two minutes of the contest to claim an 8-1 edge.
But that's when Heard started to heat up, scoring eight of the Raiders' next 10 points to knot the contest at 12.
Taylor Owen then put Madison County up by a bucket, 15-13, with a first quarter buzzer-beating jump shot.
Madison County never looked back as Ben Baker, who tallied 14 points on the night, had the hot hand in the second period of play, nailing three three-pointers to help lead the Raiders to a comfortable 31-19 advantage.
After carrying a 38-24 lead into intermission, Madison County put away the Wolverines in the third quarter, outscoring them 29-14 to claim a 29-point edge at the end of the quarter.
Prince Avenue then narrowed the margin in the final period of play against Madison County's bench, outscoring the Raiders 28-15.
LAST MONDAY VS. FRANKLIN
The Franklin County Lions handed Crouse his first loss at the helm of the Raider basketball program as Madison County fell 72-62 Monday night in the second day of action in the tip-off classic.
The Raiders staked claim to a 12-11 edge after a quarter of play, but Franklin County took control after that. The visiting club outscored the Raiders 23-13 in the second quarter and 20-13 in the third to claim a 54-38 edge after three quarters en route to the 10-point win.
Madison County was led by a trio of scorers in the contest - Baker had 13 points, Heard added 12 while Youngblood threw in 10 more.


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