Area Sports...

December 27, 2000

Gowder 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.

Sports teams 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 subregion contests.
Jefferson's wrestling team highlights the week's events by hosting the fourth annual Keen Classic wrestling tournament Thursday and Friday.
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 Jackson Herald.
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 and Saturday.
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 through Friday.
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 two games.
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 Herald.
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 Tigers.

Lady Raiders win Christmas tournament
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."
Madison County survived a nail-biter in the championship contest, topping Oconee by five to claim the tournament crown in a low-scoring affair.
Madison County seemed to be pulling away late in the third quarter, opening up a 36-27 advantage with under three minutes left in the period.
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 play.
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.
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 season.
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.

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