named quarterback on All-Area team
Banks County High School senior Drew Gowder was named one of
the quarterbacks on the 2000 MainStreet Newspapers All-Area team.
"He was a good leader for us," said BCHS head football
coach Rance Gillespie. "We feel he had an outstanding year."
Gowder threw for 1,643 yards and 12 touchdowns, hitting 122 of
his 218 passes. He also rushed for 252 yards and four touchdowns
on 94 carries.
"He came to work hard every day," Gillespie said. "He
was important to our success moving the ball."
Gowder is in the quarterback slot with Commerce's Micheal Collins.
Collins helped his team to a state championship with 1,060 yards
and 20 touchdowns.
BCHS senior Hank Jones was also named to the All-Area team in
the linebacker position.
"Hank is another good leader," Gillespie said. "He's
one of the toughest kids I've been around and ever had the pleasure
to coach. He also has a good work ethic."
Jones had 85 tackles this year, 59 of them being unassisted.
He joins Commerce's Nick Cox and Jackson County's Terriss Hale
in the position.
Two other Banks County players, David Creasy and Chris Ivey,
received honorable mention.
Creasy, a junior, compiled 89 total tackles on the defensive
side of the ball.
Ivey, named as a receiver, led the area with 38 receptions for
480 yards and five touchdowns.
-See page 3B for the complete All-Area team.
to ring out 2000 in tournaments
After breaking briefly to celebrate Christmas, most local sports
teams will be back in action this week in holiday tournaments
designed to get them toned up for January's crucial region and
FOURTH ANNUAL KEEN CLASSIC
Jefferson's wrestling team highlights the week's events by hosting
the fourth annual Keen Classic wrestling tournament Thursday
Beside Jefferson, teams from Commerce, Oglethorpe County, Dawson
County, Social Circle, Adairsville, Landmark Christian and Brookstone
are expected to participate, weather permitting.
The format for the tournament differs from the ordinary 14-class
individual style event.
On day one of the Classic, each of the eight participating teams
will each face three others in separate dual matches. A dual
match win is worth 30 points in the tournament's team competition,
and a tie earns 15.
The tournament concludes on day two with the customary individual
tournament. Team scoring for the second day is the same as in
other individual tournaments.
For more Jefferson wrestling information, see 5B of this week's
TIGERS HOST HOOPS TOURNEY
Despite just having wrapped up football season, the Commerce
boys were able to come out on top of the field last week in the
Spartan Invitational at Athens Academy.
The Spartans will get another shot at Michael Collins and company
this week when the Tigers host the WJJC Holiday Classic Friday
Other teams expected are Banks County, Oglethorpe County and
Oconee County's girls.
Jackson County's Panthers are scheduled to participate in Hart
County's Dairy Queen Classic basketball tournament Wednesday
The Panther boys will be without the services of inside man B.J.
Wilmont for the first two games. Wilmont was called twice during
the Dec. 16 game against Hart County for flagrant elbowing. According
to Georgia High School Association rules, any player with two
technical fouls in a single game must sit out his team's next
Jackson County head coach Ron Garren said last week that game
film clearly shows the calls against the affable Wilmont were
obvious officiating mistakes.
Nevertheless, Wilmont will not be in the gym during Jackson County's
opening-round game Wednesday afternoon against the powerful Dorman,
S.C., nor for the team's second tournament game Thursday.
For more on Panther basketball, see 5B of this week's Jackson
Jefferson's hardcourt teams will also be on the road in tournament
action, in Cornelia for the Alltel-Regions Bank Raider Rumble
at Habersham Central. Both boys and girls are paired with basketball
powerhouse Greenwood, S.C., in Thursday's opening round.
Also expected to participate are Habersham Central, Winder-Barrow,
Stephens County, White County, the girls' team from Eagles Landing,
and three other teams from South Carolina.
After 3 Days Of Practice,
Tigers Good Enough To Win Spartan Invitational
In spite of having less than a week of practice under their belts,
the Commerce Tiger basketball team won the Spartan Invitational
last week at Athens Academy.
Michael Collins picked up in basketball where he left off in
football and scored 51 points to lead the Tigers over Prince
Avenue Baptist Church last Wednesday and Athens Academy Thursday.
The Tigers will find the competition a little tougher this week
when they host the WJJC Holiday Classic. They'll take on Oglethorpe
County in the opening round Friday night.
Collins poured in 29 points in the Tigers' first game of the
season Wednesday against the Prince Avenue Wolverines. After
only three days of practice, due to the extended Tiger football
season, the Commerce squad was a little rusty on the offensive
end, managing a 15-12 first-quarter lead and being up by only
one point, 30-29, at the half.
But the Tigers warmed up a little in the second half. Twion Shealer
scored 17 of his 22 points and the Tigers played some good defense
to outscore the Wolverines 19-4 in the third period, then coasted
in for a 72-54 first-round victory.
Casey Gary added seven points and picked up 10 rebounds for the
Tigers. Wes Massey added six, Adam Bagwell four and Dustin Martin
and Vonte Reed scored two apiece. Collins pulled down 13 rebounds
and Shealer eight as the Tigers dominated the boards.
In the finals the next night against Athens Academy, the Tigers
again used the third period to take control of the game.
Trailing 13-12 after one period and 24-23 at the half, the Tigers
went on a 12-5 run in the third quarter to go up 35-24 en route
to a 48-44 win and the first-place trophy.
Collins led the offense with 22 points and had seven rebounds.
Shealer scored a dozen and had 10 rebounds, while Gary and Martin
scored four each and Reed and Massey three each.
"I think for no more practice than we had, we played pretty
well," said coach Rex Gregg. "We played well together
as a team. The difference in both games was our defense, especially
in the third quarter. We held both opponents to under 10 points,
which is pretty good."
While Collins was the offensive star, Gregg said Gary's contribution
was just as important.
"Casey Gary had an outstanding tournament. That doesn't
show up in the points, but he hustles on every play," Gregg
said, noting that Gary graded out higher than any of the other
Lady Raiders win Christmas
The warm-up was nice, but now the real obstacle course begins
for the Lady Raiders.
After closing out the first half of the 2000-2001 basketball
season by winning the Athens Academy Christmas Tournament this
past week, girls' head coach Tim Cook said the real challenge
now lies ahead for his squad with the start of region play.
"It was great to win those ten games but hey, the real season
starts now," said Cook, whose squad moved to 10-2 on the
season with tournament wins over Athens Academy and Oconee County.
Cook, whose team has claimed eight consecutive wins, said his
squad must contend with some tough subregion foes in order to
meet the team's post season goals.
In fact, the squad will face perhaps their toughest subregion
test when they return to the floor January 5 to tangle with Hart
County, currently ranked number one in the state in AAA with
a 9-0 record
"It's a new season coming up," he said. "The girls
know what's on the line. If they stay focused they know they
can make it to the region tournament and the state tournament.
Our side of the region is a little tougher...Elbert and Hart
are athletic and Franklin beat us."
Cook said his squad needs some defensive fine-tuning before they
enter into their region battles.
"I'm a defensive-oriented coach...We're only giving up 35
points a game but there are a lot of little defensive breakdowns
that good teams can capitalize on."
Cook said the offense needs some improvement also.
"We need to shoot the ball better," he said.
Cook also stressed that his team needs to keep their focus in
order to be successful, something he said the squad might have
lost during the Christmas tournament.
"We played pretty sloppy but we played well enough to win,
that's about all you can say," said Cook, whose team downed
the Lady Spartans 59-25 Wednesday and then edged out the Lady
Warriors 48-43 Thursday. "The team had been so high and
focused but we just lost our focus. We didn't practice for three
days because of the weather...But we were happy to win."
THURSDAY VS. OCONEE COUNTY
Madison County survived a nail-biter in the championship contest,
topping Oconee by five to claim the tournament crown in a low-scoring
Madison County seemed to be pulling away late in the third quarter,
opening up a 36-27 advantage with under three minutes left in
However, the Lady Warriors mounted a steady comeback, outscoring
Madison County 6-2 to end the third quarter and then trimmed
the the lead to a bucket with 5:22 left in the game with a three-point
But Madison County answered with a key 7-0 run, capped off by
a pair of free throws by Sheena Mason at the 3:14 mark, to give
the Lady Raiders a little cushion, leading 45-38 heading into
the final stretch.
Then, after Oconee cut the lead to 46-43 during the final minute,
Brittney Escoe who registered 16 points on the night, sealed
the win for the Lady Raiders, nailing a pair of free-throws with
six seconds left to give Madison County the final margin of victory.
Madison County's offense struggled in early in the contest, going
scoreless for nearly five minutes to start the game, as Oconee
grabbed a 6-0 lead.
However, the Lady Raiders fought back, scored six points over
the last three minutes of the quarter to spark a 10-0 run to
end the quarter.
The Lady Raiders then added to their lead in the second quarter
with Escoe, who scored 10 points in the first half, nailing a
three pointer, followed by a pair of free throws by Myers, who
picked up 11 points on the night, to give the team a 22-15 advantage
with 1:32 remaining in the half.
After taking a 23-18 edge into intermission, the team looked
to put away the Lady Warriors early in the third quarter, starting
the second half with a 8-2 spurt to take a 11-point lead.
WEDNESDAY VS. ATHENS ACADEMY
The Lady Raider's contest with the Lady Spartans resembled nothing
of Madison County's match-up with Oconee.
The team got a breather in their opening round contest with Athens
Academy, cruising to a 59-25 win in their ninth victory of the
After leading 13-6 at the end of the first quarter, Madison County
only surrendered a single bucket in the second period to run
out to a 37-8 edge at half-the Lady Raiders' second consecutive
game allowing only eight points through the first two quarters.
Things got worse however in the third quarter as Madison County
opened up a 48-10 edge with 2:29 remaining in the period.
The Lady Raiders spread the scoring out with 11 players registering
points with Myers leading the team with 11, followed by Bellamy
who had nine, Mason who had seven and Aiyana Hunter, Rebekah
Faulkner and Escoe who all had six.