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
"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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
LAST TUESDAY VS.
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
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
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
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