Area Sports...

JUNE 11, 2003

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Banks’ region to see some changes
Banks County High School’s athletic region could soon get a lot more attractive.
The GHSA has set region realignment for the 2004-06, and the new region 8-AA sees the loss of GAC, Providence, Wesleyan and Apalachee.
Schools will have until the first of July to appeal their region reassignments, and barring any appeals, Banks’ region could be without a private school for the first time in years.
All three of the private schools are being moved to Region 5-AA. Apalachee jumps up a class to 8-AAA.
The plan also returns East Hall back into class AA with Banks County. No other changes were made to the region.

Summer Hoops Now In Session
With Commerce athletes juggling a number of sports commitments during the summer break, getting a little June hoops time has become a valuable tool for the school’s basketball coaches in keep their players sharp in the offseason.
Both the Commerce boys’ and girls’ basketball teams have had their minds on roundball this past week as they’ve hosted scrimmages with area schools at the high school and middle school gyms as a way to step up the summer practice schedule.
Girls’ squads were to compete through today while the boys’ squad will hold scrimmages through Thursday.
Nineteenth-year Lady Tiger head coach Don Watkins said that the practice games help all his players get a better idea of where they stand, but benefit the younger team members especially.
“Ultimately our goal is to get our upcoming juniors and sophomores — those who played JV last year — to fit into what we’re trying to do ... They should understand that it’s a much faster game out there,” he said.
Tiger head basketball coach Rex Gregg, in his 24th year at the helm of the program, said the level of play that comes with scrimmaging against another opponent is something you can’t simulate in an intra-squad practice. After Thursday, Gregg’s team will have played against eight schools, all AAA or larger.
“Competition-wise, you can’t play that against that kind of competition in practice,” he said.
Watkins agreed that the competition level is what makes the scrimmages so valuable.
“The most experienced players don’t really have much competition in practice with the younger players,” he said. “But its much different when you put your five best players out there against their best five players.”
The busy slate of the games is another plus to both programs.
The boys were to play eight contests in four days while the girls’ teams were scheduled to play six varsity and six jv games during the three days of scrimmages. Watkins said that amount of games in that short of a time also helps the younger players.
“That’s about half the games they’ll see in an entire JV season.”
Since both the boys’ and girls’ teams are almost completely comprised of two-sport athletes, playing as much as possible now is essential. Both teams traditionally lose significant preseason practice time in the fall due to postseason participation in football and softball.
“We’ve got to play a lot because we get a late start every year,” Gregg said.
“It (summer practice) is really important for us,” Watkins said. “The state softball tournament is Halloween weekend. Almost all of the varsity players play softball so we’re already to weeks behind in the fall. Plus the summer gives players a chance to see what they need to improve in their game and work on it between now and then.”
•The Lady Tigers will head to North Georgia College for their team camp Thursday and Friday and will attend a strength and conditioning camp in Chapel Hill, N.C. June 25-28.
•Since several on the team are involved in summer baseball, Gregg said his team won’t be attending a team camp. Instead, the squad will continue to workout twice a week in the gym through the end of the month. “This is going to be our camp,” he explained.
•Gregg said participation in the JV ranks has been strong with as many as 18 players showing up for workouts.

County teams battle for bragging rights
For Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department squads competing in tomorrow’s bevy of tournament championship games it all comes down to one night.
A season of trials and tribulations, fun and sun, sweat and tears are on the line. Whatever the mantra, teams from across the county will battle for supremacy Thursday in the final night of play in five age divisions of baseball and softball at Lamar Murphy Park. Weather permitting of course.
Last weekend’s schedule was thrown a curve ball when rain poured down Friday and Saturday, thus delaying most play.
Only the 11-12-year-old girls division managed to remain on schedule and play out their tournament to crown a champion Monday night. And only the advantage of having just three teams in that division enabled them to do so. The eventual championship winner was the West Jackson Wildcats, whose sixth-inning 12-11 win over the Maysville Lady Jackets provided plenty of excitement in the final game of the season.
Tuesday night another girls champion was crowned, this time in the 9-10-year-old division, which saw the Stars knock off the Jefferson Flames to take the title.
Look for Thursday’s championship games to provide similar excitement as the remaining divisions (one girls and four boys) will vie for the crowns.

Potter leaving JCCHS to take coaching positions at Tucker
Jackson County head volleyball and girls track coach Robin Potter accepted a dual head coaching position with Tucker High School of Region 6-AAAA recently. She will head up both the girls basketball and volleyball programs at that school effective immediately. Her resignation was approved by the Jackson County board of education Monday night.
Potter spent the past six years with the Jackson County school system, the first two at West Jackson Middle School and the last four with JCCHS.
“I just felt like the opportunity for me was there and I was ready to go and lead both a basketball program and a volleyball program at the same time,” Potter explained Tuesday. “But I do so regrettably because I’ve enjoyed my time in Jackson County and the kids have been great...I miss them already.”
Jackson County athletic director Brent Brock stated that the program would promote assistant coach Heather Bruce to the volleyball head coaching position.
Bruce was an assistant under the Potter-led 2002 Volley Cats who finished the season with a 21-13 overall record. The team was eliminated from the Area 8-AAAA tournament by Cedar Shoals.
One task Bruce will face come the fall will be replacing the six seniors that were lost to graduation from this year’s squad, however Potter indicated that Bruce was the right person for the job.
On the track, JCCHS boys track coach Steve Collins will take over the girls program duties as well as the boys.

Madison Co. placed in 8-AAAA again
In all likelihood, Madison County will remain in AAAA for at least two more years as the school has been placed in Region 8-AAAA again for 2004-2006 in the Georgia High School Association’s recent proposed realignment.
While the state’s largest regions saw some seismic shifts with the reshuffling, Region 8-AAAA saw only moderate changes.
The region will lose Winder-Barrow and Newton and gain Evans, Lakeside-Evans and Greenbrier.
Schools have 30 days to appeal the realignment plan.

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