to host Union County
After falling to a tough Lumpkin County team last week, the Banks
County soccer Leopards and Lady Leopards will look to rebound
against Union County next week.
Banks County was scheduled to take on the Panthers Friday night.
However, since Union County's boys' and girls' teams are in the
state playoffs, the game was canceled.
Instead, Union County will come to Homer Tuesday for a 5 p.m.
match in Banks' season opener.
"I look for it to be a tough match," boys' head coach
Skip Johnston said. "I hope that with a week of practice
we will be ready to perform better than we did last week. Hopefully,
we will play well and improve on some things."
Lady Leopards head coach Mike Brownlee said he also hopes his
team will use this week's practice to improve upon its performance.
"We've got to get better at controlling the ball,"
Brownlee said. "I'm glad we'll have a little more time to
Brownlee added that several of his players are battling sickness
this week, but he expects them to be well by Tuesday.
The Lady Leopards were downed by Lumpkin County last Friday evening.
"We have a good defense but we struggled offensively,"
Brownlee said. "I wish we would've scored a goal."
The Lady Leopards, down 2-0 at the half, gave up two quick goals
early in the second half to shift the momentum in Lumpkin's favor.
The Indians went on to score two more to take a 6-0 victory.
"In the last part of the second half, we did real well,"
The Leopards also fell to Lumpkin County Friday.
"Lumpkin has got a great team and there's a reason they're
ranked near the top," Johnston said. "I was disappointed
in the way we played. They grabbed some early momentum and we
couldn't rebound and get in the game."
girls, both Jefferson teams advance to state basketball tournaments
IT'S NOT every year that an area basketball team qualifies for
the second round of the state tournament otherwise known
as the Sweet 16 but it's rarer still for five area teams
to accomplish the feat.
Eight of 10 teams in the Mainstreet Newspapers coverage area
earned state berths by finishing among the top four in their
respective areas, and five of those won their opening-round matchups
Area girls teams seem to have the advantage over their male counterparts,
as all but one girls' team in the coverage area are still alive.
Jefferson is the lone boys' team to make the second round.
AAA SWEET 16 MATCHUPS
Jackson County's girls will join the Lady Raiders of Madison
County Thursday in the Cobb Civic Center for the second round
of the Class AAA girls' tournament.
Madison County faces Westminster at 5:30 p.m., and the Lady Panthers
follow at 7 p.m., when they take on Region 7 third seed South
Region 8 teams Hart County and Franklin County joined Jackson
and Madison in a first-round sweep of teams from Region 6.
Three of four Region 7 teams Gainesville, Pickens
County and South Forsyth reached the Sweet 16.
If Jackson County and Franklin County both win Thursday, they
would play Saturday at 7 p.m. The Lady Panthers lost to the top-seeded
Lady Lions twice during the regular season, by an average margin
of only 8.5 points.
Hart and Madison would face off Saturday at 4 p.m. if both win
Thursday. Hart County downed Madison twice in the regular season,
once after trailing by 10 in the fourth period.
CLASS A GAMES
The Lady Tigers of Commerce will head farther up I-75 along with
both teams from Jefferson, for second- and third-round Class
A action at Floyd College in Rome.
Jefferson and Commerce could find themselves meeting for the
fourth time this season. Jefferson meets Bowdon Friday at 5:30
p.m., at the conclusion of the 4 p.m. matchup between Commerce
and Athens Academy. The winners will face one another Saturday
at 4 p.m.
The Dragon boys face perhaps the toughest road of any of the
area teams. After a close call in the opening round game against
Galloway, Jefferson must get past the ranked Southwest Atlanta
Christian Warriors Friday at 8:30 p.m., then defeat another highly
ranked team in Whitefield Academy Saturday in order to stay alive.
Teams that survive this weekend will move on to Macon next week
for the all-classification Final Four.
Boys' Class A action begins Monday in Macon. The girls follow
next Wednesday, and Class AAA girls are on tap for next Thursday.
Boys' state championship games will be held next Friday, and
girls' title games Saturday.
For tournament brackets and more details on first-round games,
see this week's Jackson Herald.
Sweet Sixteen: Lady Tigers
Advance, Play Spartans Thursday
They were one of 32 teams. Now they're one of 16, and by the
end of the weekend, the Commerce Lady Tigers hope to be one of
the four remaining Class A teams left in the state girls' basketball
That is a tall order.
It begins Friday night, when the Lady Tigers, 52-32 winners last
Saturday over Gordon Lee in the opening round, face Athens Academy,
a team they beat 52-43 Dec. 21. Should they prevail Friday, odds
are that they'd face the Jefferson Lady Dragons Saturday for
the right to advance to the final four. The Lady Dragons have
won two of three games with Commerce this season.
Tiger fans might expect the Lady Tigers to easily dispose of
Athens Academy, since they did it in December, but Coach Don
Watkins warns that the Lady Spartans are a different team now.
"They were without their starting point guard, Elizabeth
Guest," Watkins pointed out. "She's back, and she's
been playing well."
In the last contest, senior forward Cynthia Whitehead scored
28 points against the Tigers. Another player to watch is LeeAnn
Boerma, who Watkins says is a threat from three-point range.
"Based on what I've seen, they've gotten a lot better since
we played them. They're much better; hopefully, we are too,"
The Lady Tigers have played better recently, says Watkins, pointing
to the past two Saturdays dating back to the consolation game
of the 8-A tournament.
"We've had a lot of good defense and just a lot of hustle.
We've played good team basketball and good defense, which has
created some offense," he stated.
All four 8-A teams advanced into the second round of the tournament.
Jefferson beat Bremen 75-61, Providence, the 8-A fourth seed,
destroyed the 6-A top seed, Trion, 67-42, and 8-A top seed Wesleyan
rolled over Temple like an SUV over a possum, 79-25.
"I think that speaks well for our region," Watkins
GORDON LEE GAME
The Lady Tigers were just too quick for Gordon Lee. Watkins saw
that in the film prior to the matchup with the 6-A second seed.
"You look at the video, but sometimes you can't be sure,
but I felt all week long that we had an advantage as far as quickness
Indeed, had the Lady Tigers been able to make lay-ups early,
they'd have blown Gordon Lee away by the end of the first quarter.
A number of steals resulted in layups that the Lady Tigers
wound up missing.
Late in the first quarter, the score was tied at nine, but then
the Lady Tigers put on a 19-4 run that propelled them to a 28-13
half-time lead, a margin that was not seriously threatened the
rest of the way.
Shemika Reed scored 19 points to pace the offense. Charlene Gaither
added 10 points and had four assists, Sheka Wheeler scored nine
and had seven rebounds, while Monique Diamond scored eight points,
most of them off layups after her five steals. Lauren Ladd added
six points as seniors accounted for all the scoring.
The win put the Lady Tigers' record at 22-5, its best since a
25-3 record in 1989 that took them to the final four. This group
of seniors also made the Sweet 16 in 1999.
"Hopefully, the experience of being there in 1999 will help
us," said Watkins. "But it's difficult in the state
tournament. You've got to play your best and you've got to have
luck have the ball bounce your way. We're just glad we're
one of the 16 teams still playing."
Lady Raiders advance
to second round of state tourney
March madness is in the air for the girls' basketball squad for
the first time in over a decade.
And Madison County looks to be going into the unfamilar territory
of the state tournament full speed ahead.
The Lady Raiders put to rest the bitter memories of last week's
disappointing region championship loss and advanced to the sweet
16 of the AAA state tournament Saturday night, shellacking Haralson
County and their slow-down attack 47-30 in Jackson County.
But while the Lady Raiders administered the knockout blow to
their first-round opponent, their second-round state tournament
foe promises to be swifter of foot.
Head coach Tim Cook said the team's date with the Westminster
Lady Wilcats pits Madison County against a fast-paced attack
that is identical to the Lady Raiders'. The two up-tempo teams
will square off Thursday night at Cobb (County) Civic Center
at 5:30 p.m. with a trip to the elite eight of the AAA state
tournament at stake.
"They play the same style of ball we do-pushing the ball
up the floor, full court pressure and man-to-man defense,"
Cook said. "They've got a good athletic post player. She
can rebound the ball and then go coast to coast. We have to keep
her under control."
Cook pointed out that while the 22-3 Region 5-AAA Lady Wildcats
sport solid players in both the front and back court, he feels
that his team will be able to match up.
"Their guards are about the same size as ours and have some
speed, but I think we probably shoot better," he said. "They've
got some tall post players...But I think our post players are
The head coach said his squad might also be the more conditioned
club due to the fact that Madison County has played stiffer competition.
"In talking to people, they've said most of their (Westminster's)
games have been over after a quarter, which means their starters
have been on the bench most of the second half. They might not
be used to going 32 min-
utes .... I know that we can go 32 minutes and even into overtime
and be in shape."
The winner of the contest faces the Hart County-Gainesville winner
If Madison County were to prevail Thursday night, it could set
up some interesting match-ups with both the Lady Bulldogs or
"The girls were disappointed that they didn't get to play
Hart in the region tournament...they felt they could beat them,"
Cook added that playing Gainesville would pit them against what
he said was the best player in the state in all classifications,
freshman Tasha Humphries.
However, Cook said his concerns are solely on what is at hand
"We've got to focus on Westminster," he said.
And focus is something the coach said he believes his team will
have heading into their contest in Cobb County.
"I thoujght we had a reall good practice (Monday) and I
think our focus now is better than it was before we played Haralson
SATURDAY VS. HARALSON COUNTY
"Slow and steady" might win the race in the fables,
but it was the Lady Raiders fast-paced tempo that prevailed against
the Haralson County lead-footed attack Friday night.
Madison County exploded in the fourth quarter of the opening
round contest against the Rebelettes, outscoring them 15-4 over
the final eight minutes to claim the 17-point win.
Cook said his squad simply took their opponents out of the game
and wore down the slow-paced Haralson County team in the second
"We were hoping that if we kept tightening the pressure
that they would wear down in the second half and that's just
what happened," he said. "In the second half we just
extended the pressure."
Brittany Escoe who became the most unlikely of heros in the contest
because of a serious ankle injury last week, rose to the occasion
in the second half, tallying all 11 of points on the night in
the third and fourth quarter.
Cook said the senior sharp shooter simply found her rhythm after
"She had only practiced a day before the Haralson contest,
was out of rhythm in the first half. and I told her in the locker
room, 'it's your time to step it up' and she did in the second
half and she responded well.....she lit it up."
Cook said that one of the keys to the victory was pushing the
Rebelettes into a hole.
"With the style of ball they play, you have to be even with
the other team or ahead," he said. "You can't be behind
and hold the ball...They did a good job of keeping it close in
the first half."
Up 13-4 in the first quarter, Haralson narrowed the gap by going
on a 9-1 run to cut the lead to a single point, 14-13.
The Rebelettes then closed the half with an 8-4 spurt, trailing
22-21 at intermission. Haralson then kept things close in the
third quarter, trailing by only a basket with 1:45 left in the
period, before Madison County took a six-point edge heading into
the final period play.
But Haralson ran out of fuel in the fourth quarter and the Lady
Raiders took advantage of it.
Escoe nailed a tree pointer to start the quarter, sparking a
9-0 run, leading to a 41-26 lead.
Haralson did little to stop Madison County from turning the close
game into a route as the Rebelettes mustered only two baskets
in the last four and a half minutes of the game as the Lady Raiders
picked up their 23rd win.