Area Sports...

DECEMBER 10, 2003

CHS Girls Basketball Looking To Build Upon First Two Games
Twenty practices with a full squad were nice, but live action this past week provided a much better litumus test.
The Lady Tiger basketball team is 1-1 now after falling to Oglethorpe 68-40 last Tuesday to start the season before rolling past Tallulah Falls 49-25 this past Thursday.
Lady Tiger head coach Don Watkins said he was interested to see how his team performed against someone besides itself. The results, he said, were mixed.
“With everybody back, we had practiced 20 times. We’d done somethings good and somethings not so good and we wanted to put it against someone else,” he said. “Some of it worked, some of it didn’t.”
The team’s pre-Christmas holiday slate continues this week with a Friday matchup with Buford and Monday rematch with Oglethorpe County. The team will play Buford again next Friday.
“It will make us better,” Watkins said of the upcoming games.
He explained that his team has already learned a lot about itself in its initial action, especially in the Oglethorpe County contest in which it faced a larger, more athletic team which out-rebounded the Lady Tigers and beat them in transition.
“We’ve got to rotate back on defense,” he said. “We’ve got to get back into game shape. But we got to see us on film — the good and the bad.”
Commerce was tied with Oglethorpe — which went to the state tournament last year in AA — at 12 at the end of the first quarter, but the Lady Patriots used their size and athleticsm to outscore Commerce in the middle two quarters 35-16 in pulling away with the win.
The Lady Red Skins were able to rack up several easy baskets in that run according to Watkins.
“We were out-rebounded and when they got a rebound they were able to make a long pass to their outlet person,” he explained.
Watkins said he scheduled a team the caliber of Oglethorpe County for a reason.
“I told the team that that’s what kind of team that Social Circle will be,” he said. “They’ve got quickness out front and height on the inside.”
Stephanie Rainwater paced the team with 14 points.
Commerce was able to get much more accomplished two nights later in its win over a substancially-lesser opponent in Tallulah Falls.
“It gave us a chance to work on some different things on offense and defense that we want to do for the rest of the season and see how it worked in a game,” Watkins said of the easy win. “It gave us an opportunity to work on somethings and polish up some things that didn’t work against Oglethorpe.”
Led by Lauren Lance’s 10 points, 12 different Lady Tigers played and scored in a 24-point route of the Lady Indians. The team led 16-7 after a quarter and 34-8 at the half.
“We got to play a lot of players,” Watkins said. “We started with the five seniors but we were able to mix and match a lot of combinations.”
Commerce’s 26-point edge at intermission made that possible as Watkins emptied his bench and got several B-team players a wealth of minutes. That was particularly convenient since there wasn’t a JV game scheduled that night.
“It gave us a chance to play half a varsity game and half a JV game,” Watkins said.

Tigers coming to Town
Banks to host Commerce Sat.; at Providence Friday night
For any team in the Region 8-AA north subregion, the first part of the basketball season can be quite tough.
While trying to get their players in sync on the court, the north teams must spend the early games playing against the toughest competition in the region — the southern teams.
Banks County will finally get over that hump and out of the tough south subregion this weekend after traveling to Providence Friday night. The Stars field tough boys and girls squads yearly.
And boys head coach Mike Ruth said he expects to see a sound team on the court.
“They run the floor and shoot the ball well,” Ruth said. “All of them can light it up.”
The Leopards (3-4) hope to be healthly by Friday. Key player Matt Dale has had to miss two games due to an illness and still wasn’t 100 percent in a game earlier this week.
He’ll be needed as one of the Leopards top shooters in the games this weekend, including Saturday’s face-off with nearby rival Commerce. The game usually draws some of the largest crowds of the season for Banks County.
“It’ll be a big deal for our team,” Ruth said.
The Lady Leopards are also hoping to have their team functioning at full strength this weekend.
Chastico Beasley, one of the team’s top scorers, was knocked out of Saturday’s game against East Hall after suffering a mild concussion when she collided with a Lady Viking player.
“She’s doing fine now,” head girls coach Jodie Watkins said.
She hopes to have Beasley back for Saturday’s contest with Commerce. The other girl, Watkins said, had to have 40 stitches and some plastic surgery after the collision.
“Thankfully it was no worse than that,” she said of Beasley’s mild concussion.
Watkins also said her team was fired up for the game Saturday.

Homeward Bound
First Jefferson homestand of the season begins Friday
Lady Dragons improve to 2-3 with Tues. win over Indians
They may have started slowly out of the gate this season, but Friday the Jefferson girls will have a chance to even their record at .500 when they host Region 8-A foe Athens Christian.
The game is a key “cross-over” contest for the Lady Dragons and could have a bearing on seedings later this postseason. Friday’s contest is the first of a three-game stretch of home games that includes a meeting with Apalachee on Saturday and concludes with a game against Social Circle on Dec. 19.
But, for Jefferson head coach Brandy Corbett, what lies ahead for her squad means little if the Lady Dragons don’t focus on what’s at hand starting Friday against the Lady Eagles, a team she admitted they don’t know all that much about.
“Right now, we’re just really trying to focus on ourselves,” Corbett said following Tuesday night’s victory over Tallulah Falls. “We have moments right now where we look like we’re coming together and then we go and do something that sets us back...right now we’re just having to learn how to win.”
Last Saturday, the Lady Dragons fell at Apalachee in their only game of the week, losing 47-40. Corbett stated that this Saturday’s chance at redemption against the Lady Wildcats is big, but considering that the game is not in region play, she would rather her team first focus on the challenge region opponent ACS will present the night prior. Tuesday’s win was highlighted by a 17-point performance by Shelita Brooks and a 16-point night by Shenita Moon. Kristina Friedman added 10 points to round out the scoring.

Seniors Allen, Shubert named to AAAA all-state softball team
The Madison County softball team is holding its awards banquet Thursday night but two Raider softball players have already nabbed some early accolades.
Both Casey Allen and Candace Shubert were named to the GACA AAAA all-state softball team after helping lead the Raiders to a 26-11 record and a state sectionals appearance this fall.
Allen, who hit .298 with one homer and 17 RBIs, was selected to the second team while Shubert, who batted .433 with eight RBIs and recently signed a scholarship with North Georgia, was named to the honorable mention list.
“We’re really proud of both of them,” Raider head coach Doug Kesler said. “They’ve really been productive players for us for several years. Winning awards like that is like icing on the cake.”
Kesler said it was especially meaningful for the two to earn all-state honors after completing their senior years.
“To finish out your career and be recognized like that — it’s an honor for them and our program,” he said.
Allen and Shubert’s selection continues a recent tradition of Raiders being recognized on the all-state team.
Lindsey Barnette, Brooke Kesler and Sarah Owen all earned that distinction last year.
The program has had 17 all-state selections since 1999. CHECK THAT
Madison County’s two selections this year were the most in Area 8-AAAA. The only other school with a player making the all-state list was Jackson County.

Panther hoopsters fall on road Tues.
MORE JCCHS HOOPS COVERAGE ON PAGE 5B of this weeks Jackson Herald.
Jackson County made the trip to Rockdale County on Tuesday night and came home with losses in both the girls and boys varsity games.
In girls action, the Lady Panthers played their worst game of the season, according to head coach Chad Pittman, losing 43-32 to the Lady Bulldogs.
“We had no leadership, no execution and we just totally didn’t get the job done,” a frustrated Pittman said following the loss.
Despite returning just one starter from last season Rockdale was able to dominate the game throughout, holding the Lady Panthers to a season low five points in both the second and third quarters.
The Lady Panthers shot the ball extremely poorly from the floor, sinking just 27 percent (11-of-40) field goals. CeCe Hill led the Lady Panthers with 13 points.
Perhaps most disheartening to the Lady Panthers was that the majority of their shots (roughly 75 percent according to Pittman) were good looks.
In boys action, Jackson County’s woes continued in close games as the Panthers were narrowly defeated 49-48 by the Bulldogs. Jackson County was ahead by one late in the game thanks to a Clay Scott free throw, but a Rockdale basket with 7.7 seconds remaining put the home side up one at 49-48.
A last second attempt by Jackson County off an inbounds play failed to reach net and the Panthers fell to 0-7 on the season.
“The kids played hard, but we’ve just got to keep pushing and slowly get to the next level needed to win,” Jackson County head coach Richard Crumley said.
Scott led the Panthers with 14 points while Kennard Mattox added 11. John Richardson chipped in with 10 points.
Jackson County plays host to Eastside on Friday at 7 p.m. followed by a trip to Stephens County on Saturday.

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