Area Sports...

December 19, 2001


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Jeffersonıs Ryan Gurley commits to North Georgia
Jefferson outfielder Ryan Gurley recently signed a letter of intent to attend North Georgia College and State University. Gurley will receive a scholarship to play baseball for the Saints.
In three seasons with the Dragons, Gurley has batted .448, driven in 65 runs, scored 91 and stolen 42 bases.
Dragon head coach Chuck Cook indicated that Gurley has been a major factor in Jeffersonıs recent success on the baseball diamond.
³Heıs one of my all-time favorite players,² Cook said. ³Heıs a very hard worker, and heıs very passionate about the game. Heıs also an outstanding young man. Iıve gotten to know him off the field as well as on it, and I have a lot of respect for him.²
Gurley is also a star in the classroom. He is expected to be an honor graduate, and was recently named a 2001 Hall of Fame State of Georgia Scholar Athlete. The award recognized Gurley as one of the top 40 scholar football athletes in the state, and earned him a $1,000 scholarship.
Itıs because of his work ethic both in the classroom and on the field that Coook believes Gurley will be just as successful at North Georgia.
³I expect Ryan will continue to be a leader at North Georgia, just as heıs been a leader here,² Cook remarked. ³Heıs one of those guys whoıs not happy hitting .450; heıs still out there in the batting cage two hours a day. That tells the other guys on the team that they canıt be satisfied hitting .350.²
Jefferson reached the Class A state semifinals last season before losing to eventual runner-up Bowdon, and Cook said he hopes Gurley and his senior teammates can better that finish next spring.
³Weıre going to look for a lot of leadership from all our seniors this year. How well we do is going to depend on how bad they want it.²


Panthers fall to Hart; Morgan tourney up next
As if last weekıs losses to Hart County werenıt difficult enough, Jackson County basketball teams will face even more stiff competition next week, when they participate in a holiday tournament at Morgan County.
The Panthers will take on the host Bulldogs at 7 p.m. Dec. 27 in round one of the event. Class AAAAA Baldwin - whose girls are currently ranked second in that classification by the Atlanta Tipoff Club - would be the next opponent if Jackson County wins in round one.
³Itıs going to be a pretty tough tournament,² Lady Panther head coach Chad Pittman said. ³It will be good for us; it will give us a chance to really see where weıre at.²
HART COUNTY RESULTS
Jackson Countyıs boys endured their second loss of the season Saturday at Hart County, 77-76. Both Panther losses have been by a single point.
Buzz Wehunt led the Panthers with 32 points, and Dustin David added 15.
Jackson County led 42-38 at the half, and 64-58 after three periods, but the host Bulldogs fought to stay close in the fourth. Down 76-75 with less than a minute to play, the Bulldogs hit a crucial three-pointer that turned out to be the game-winner. Jackson County had a chance to break the tie with just seconds left, but couldnıt get the ball to fall.
³We had a couple of shots at it at the end,² head coach Ron Smith said. ³We pretty much led the whole game, and we rebounded well.²
The Lady Panthers fell 53-43 in Hartwell.
³We had too many turnovers,² girlsı coach Chad Pittman recalled. ³The game got aggressive, and we lost our composure at times. We made some careless turnovers, too.²
Nikki Sosebee led the Lady Panthers in scoring, with 13. Jackson County hit only 13 of 46 two-point field goal attempts.
³I guess, if you look down the road, itıs kind of a positive thing,² Pittman said. ³Our intensity wasnıt there, we didnıt play real solid, and we didnıt shoot the ball well, but they were only able to beat us by 10. As bad as we shot the ball and as many turnovers as we had, they should have beaten us by 20 or 25 points.²
Jackson County will take off Friday through Tuesday for the holidays before resuming practices next Wednesday.
HOME WINS OVER ELBERT
Both the girlsı and boysı teams recorded wins at home Friday against Elbert County.
The Lady Panthers were much better from the field against Elbert, hitting on 21 of 40 two-point attempts. That up-and-down inconsistency is what Pittman believes to be his teamıs Achilles heel.
³Iım still looking for some consistency. When weıve got it turned on, weıre really on, but when itıs off, itıs definitely off.²
Tasha Ransom led the Lady Panthers with 27 points in a 58-49 win. Carla Cato and Nikki Sosebee both added 10 points to the effort.
For the boys, Wehuntıs 30 and Davidıs 20 led to a 73-53 Panther outpacing of Elbert.


Tigers Hope Holidays Bring Hoop Victories
Among the items on the Commerce Tigersı holiday wish list this week will be halting a two-game skid.
After falling to Athens Academy and Banks County this past weekend, the Tigers will look to generate Christmas cheer when they match up with Prince Avenue Friday—a team they beat 58-53 last Tuesday—in the opening round of the Spartan Christmas Tournament.
The team will then play Saturday in either the championship contest or the consolation round.
Other teams in the holiday tournament bracket include Madison County, Athens Christian and Athens Academy.
The team will get more of their fair share of holiday hoops action, though, as Commerce is set to host the WJJC Holiday Classic the following weekend.
ATHENS ACADEMY 52, COMMERCE 48
Commerce came up a few seconds late and a few shots short in a 52-48 home-opening loss to Athens Academy Friday night.
The Tigers, caught playing a game of catch-up with the Spartans the entire fourth quarter, had their chance to catch Athens Academy with 13 seconds left when Tyson Randolph was sent to the free throw line after being fouled on a three-point attempt.
With his team trailing 49-46, the freshman nailed his first two attempts but missed the third.
Athens Academy then sealed the win, snagging the rebound and working the ball down the floor for a bucket and a foul with only 1.3 seconds left in the game.
For the rest of this story see this weeks Commerce News.


Grapplers coming home
Itıs been nearly a year, but the Mat Leopards are finally returning home to host a match.
The wrestlers will be Banksı only sport taking place this week. The Leopards are set to host a ranked Dawson County team Friday at 5:30 p.m. Due to work being done on the high school gym floor, head wrestling coach Tracey Brown said the match will likely take place at the middle school gym.
The Tigers come into Homer ranked second in the state in class AA. The Leopards will put forward a team that Brown said has gotten better.
³We have been improving,² Brown said. ³I think weıre heading in the right direction.²
In their only competition last week, the Leopards split in a three-way duel with Riverside and Holy Innocents.
Banks was able to capitalize on a host of forfeits to take a 54-9 win over Holy Innocents.
³They forfeited so many classes,² Brown said.
Brad Angel (119), Justin Bonds (130), Chase Martin (145), Yoric Erb-Summers (152), Jeremy Angel (160), Josh Harden (171), Dustin McDuffie (189), Kevin Hall (215) and Ryan Cash (275) all took wins over Riverside.
The Leopards were downed 56-18 by Riverside.
Harden won his match by a pin in 20.6 seconds. Summers had his 10th win in a row with a pin over his opponent. Augie Krieg took a win by forfeit.
Brent Meadows, who had a six pin streak, didnıt wrestle Saturday because of an illness.


Lady Raiders look for turnaround in Christmas tourney this weekend
Madison Countyıs 2001 girlsı hoops season hasnıt gone as well as planned.
The 1-8 team will try to reverse its fortunes in the Athens Academy Christmas Tournament this weekend, before taking a two-week break from action.
The Lady Raiders will face the Lady Spartans at 7 p.m. Friday. They will then play either Commerce or Prince Avenue Saturday. The team will be off until a Jan. 5 game at Winder. The squadıs next home game is Jan. 8 versus Athens Christian.
³If we can finish on a good note going into the Christmas break, it will be a big plus for us,² said head coach Tim Cook.
Despite the teamıs struggles, the coach said his young team is maturing.
³Weıre improving,² said Cook. ³Even if it may not be in victories like people want to see....Weıre making strides. Weıve got to step up and score more and keep our head up.²
The Lady Raiders dropped three more games last week. Hereıs a brief recap:
MONROE 44
MADISON CO. 28
Madison County managed just 28 points against a quick Monroe squad on the road Saturday night.
The Lady Purple Hurricanes pulled away early, going up 21-17 with 4:33 left in the first half. Madison County cut into the lead late in the quarter and entered the lockerroom down 23-15 after Rebekah Faulkner scored off an inbounds pass just before the second quarter buzzer.
But Madison County managed just seven third quarter and six fourth quarter points, falling to Monroe by 14.
Faulkner led the team with eight points. Jessica Bentle had six. Abbi Osley tallied four. Taylor Sap and Bridget Browner chipped in three and Melanie Elrod added two.
³I was pleased with our effort Saturday night,² said Cook. ³Two weeks ago they beat us by 30 something. I thought our kids handled their pressure really well....They just out-athleted us.²
LOGANVILLE 52 MADISON CO. 36
After managing just two points against Loganville Friday in the opening period, the Lady Raiders rallied for 17 second quarter points, trailing by just four, 23-19, at halftime.
But the Lady Red Devils outscored the Lady Raiders 14-4 in the third quarter to take a 37-23 lead into the final period.
Bentle led the Lady Raiders with 15 points, hitting one three-pointer and six-of-six shots from the free throw line. The team was 10-of-12 from the charity stripe.
Faulkner tallied nine. Elrod had six. Latoya Cobbs and Tiffany Ledford each finished with three.
Katie Cloud poured in 39 for Loganville.
JACKSON CO. 70 MADISON CO. 49
Madison County took the early lead last Tuesday, holding a 16-11 advantage after one quarter. The teams entered intermission tied at 32.
But the Lady Panthers took charge after halftime, outscoring Madison County 18-7 in the third quarter and 20-10 in the fourth. Elrod led the Lady Raiders with 13. Bentle tallied nine, while Osley and Browner had eight apiece.
Tasha Ransom led Jackson County, which had four players in double figures, with 24 points.

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