Area Sports...

March 7, 2001

Leopard golfers off to slow start
Banks County's boys' golf team will take to the road this week.
The Leopards will travel to Providence to face Apalachee at 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon.
"It will be our first away match and it will be an experience for us," head coach Chris Colwell said.
Thursday's match will be Banks' first against Apalachee, a school in its first year.
The Leopards dropped their opening match to Elbert County last week. Banks shot 171 while Elbert shot 154 in the event.
"We looked pretty good," Colwell said. "Most of them were a little nervous. But after four holes they calmed down."
Brandon Brown and Matt Dale had the low scores for Banks. Both shot a 39. Drew Sparks shot a 46, Jason White had 51 and both Cody Whitlock and Josh Crocker shot 57.
Banks County had a match against Franklin and Rabun Gap Monday. The results were not available at presstime
JUNIOR VARSITY
After a loss to Elbert in the sea- opener last week, the JV Leopards will face Habersham Central and Franklin County next Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Scales Creek.
The Leopards were scheduled to take on Habersham Central Tuesday afternoon. The results were not available at presstime.
Banks shot a 221 against Elbert County last week, while the Blue Devils had a lower 177.
Jacob Fountain had Banks' low score with 49. Jeff Jackson shot a 54 and Justin Crocker shot 56.




Lady Dragons' Third Win In Four Meetings Knocks Lady Tigers From Class A's Elite 8
In the end, the Lady Dragons were just a better team, but it may take a few days for the Commerce Lady Tigers to appreciate just how successful they were this year.
Coach Don Watkins' girls ended their season with a 50-34 loss to cross-county rival Jefferson in the Class A quarterfinals. Their 23-6 record is the best for a CHS girls' basketball squad since the 1989 team went 25-3 and lost in the Final Four.
"Your goal is always the state championship, but you have to be realistic," Watkins says. "Out of all those teams, only the state championship team leaves happy. Making the Elite Eight? We'd take that every year."
The girls' had advanced to the quarterfinal round by beating Athens Academy Friday night, 59-50, on the strength of a 17-2 second-quarter run. On Friday, it was the Lady Tigers who went cold in the second quarter as Jefferson mounted a 16-1 run that saw the Lady Tigers go 0 for 21 from the field. The fact that Shemika Reed picked up two early fouls and spent most of the first half on the bench didn't help.
The Lady Dragons were already up 14-9, but at the half had built a 30-10 lead.
"They scored the first basket of the half, but we came back and closed it to 11 by the end of the third quarter," said Watkins. "Then the Dragons turned the ball over ­ and Commerce couldn't capitalize.
"From then on, they pushed the lead back up," Watkins said.
The Lady Dragons also benefited from a balanced scoring attack.
"We felt like if we could keep their top two scorers at 40 points or below that we had a good chance," Watkins said. "Lee DuBose had 14 and Annie Goza had 10. We accomplished that goal, but we didn't expect another player to get 18."
That other player was Melinda Floyd, who in the second quarter hit five consecutive three-pointers.
"We were not giving her the open shot, though it may have looked like it at times. We didn't rotate to that side fast enough," Watkins said.
Still, had he known Jefferson would score but 50 points, Watkins would have been optimistic. Unfortunately, the Lady Tiger offense sputtered, helped along by a persistent Lady Dragon defense.
Sheka Wheeler led the Lady Tiger offense with 12 points and pulled down five rebounds. Charlene Gaither added 11 points, Reed scored eight and had seven assists, and Monique Diamond scored three as the Lady Tigers shot 25 percent from the floor.
VS. ATHENS ACADEMY
To get to the quarterfinals, the Lady Tigers had to get past Athens Academy Friday night.
They trailed 17-14 after the first quarter, but used a 13-2 second quarter to take a 27-19 half time lead. After three periods, they led 45-33 and won 59-50.
"The big key was we had a real good second quarter that put us ahead by eight at the half," Watkins said. "We expanded it to 45-33, but early in the first quarter, they made a run and closed it to three points, 52-49. We answered with a 7-1 run and closed it out. That got us to Saturday's game."
Reed scored 16 to lead the offense and had 10 rebounds. Diamond scored 11 and had four assists. Wheeler and Gaither scored nine points apiece, and seniors Anita Pittman and Lauren Ladd had eight and six respectively.
"We didn't give up any easy baskets. Basically, we played good defense," Watkins said.
The Lady Spartans' leading scorer, Elizabeth Guess, got into foul trouble early and ended up with 13 points, only two of which came in the first half. Elizabeth Whitehead scored 26 to lead the Lady Spartans.


Diamond Raiders down Cedar Shoals 4-1 in season opener
The Madison County baseball team not only had to battle Cedar Shoals in their season opener, they also had to combat frostbite.
But the diamond Raiders picked up a 4-1 win over the Jaguars Monday night in "chilly" temperatures that more suggested mid-January basketball than diamond action.
It was the Raiders' pitching that warmed up during the frigid night with starter Joseph Hardigree (1-0) working five and two-thirds innings in the win, surrendering one earned run and three hits while striking out seven.
"He threw well," head coach Charlie Giffeth said. "He pitched aggressively and had good command of his breaking ball."
Chad Youngblood came in and provided quality relief, nailing down the save by retiring the last four Cedar Shoals batters of the contest.
Offensively, Griffeth said his squad "got a lot of two out hits, which is a good sign" but added that the team struck out too many times in the contest.
The Madison County squad will travel to Augusta over the weekend to take on Westside Friday night at 6 p.m and Greenbrier at 11 a.m. Saturday morning. The Raiders will then take on a south Georgia squad, Effingham County, at 1:30 following the Greenbrier contest.
Griffeth said competiton from the weekend road trip would "be a good measuring stick" for his squad, adding that any team from Augusta "is usually pretty good."
In the Monday night contest, the Raiders drew first blood in the second inning with Jonathan Pou ripping a single up the middle to bring home Adam Jordan, who pinch ran for Andy Coile.
But the Jaguars quickly evened things up in the bottom half of the second as Greg Bennett slammed a shot over the left field wall to start the inning, knotting the contest at one run.
But Hardigree soon silenced the Cedar Shoals following the shot as the senior worked himself in a zone, setting down 12 of the next 13 batters.
With the Jaguar offense in check, Madison County took control of the contest of the next three innings.
The Raiders claimed their edge in the top of the third, getting a two-out single from Youngbood. Madison County then followed with an insurance run in the fourth inning with out the luxury of a hit as Adam Nash walked, went to second on a wild pitch and eventually came home after a wild pitch.
Andy Coile then drove home the Raiders' fourth run of the game, tattooing a shot off the wall with two outs to score Hardigree.
Hardigree cruised along until the sixth inning when he hit a batsmen and then issued his first two walks of the contest, loading the bases with two outs. Coach Charles Griffeth then lifted his starter an inserted Youngblood, who picked up a strikeout to end the sixth inning, then retired the side in order in the seventh to seal the victory
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