Area Sports...

MARCH 31, 2004

Mixed Results
Both Tennis Teams Fall Against Towns County; Boys Get Win Last Week vs. ACS
It’s not everyday that a coach finds a silver lining in a shutout loss, but Commerce tennis coach Walt Massey saw one this past Thursday.
While the points might not have been there in a pair of 5-0 setbacks in both the boys’ and girls’ contests with Towns County, the second-year coach said he watched his teams elevate their level of play against a quality opponent.
“I thought we hit the ball pretty well,” Massey said. “That’s probably as good as we’ve played all year. Towns County was just really good.”
With the losses to Towns, the boys’ and girls’ teams have just one win between them right now, but Massey said that both his groups continue to persevere through the hard times this year.
“We’ve got some competitors,” he said. “What we might lack in talent we make up for in want.”
For example, Massey praised the efforts of the boys’ doubles team of Hunter Glenn and Brandon Smallwood who battled well on until after dark Thursday in an effort to get the boys’ team a point even though the contest with Towns County had long been decided.
Glenn and Smallwood’s match lasted a couple of hours before the tandem fell 2-6, 7-5, 2-6.
“They were out there until 8 p.m. trying to win us a match,” Massey said.
The coach also noted the gutsy efforts both teams’ no. 1 players — Michael Housworth and Anna Bearden — have demonstrated this year against the very best players the other teams have to offer.
“I really appreciate what they’re doing,” he said. “I told them I wouldn’t want to be the number one on our team with who they have play.”
Massey added that the no. 1 girls’ doubles team of Jena Fields and Summer Hutchins are amongst the most fierce competitors on either team.
“They’re our most consistent players and you want to talk about someone who’s competitive ... I like how they play,” he said.
Though the boys’ team fell Thursday, it was able to enjoy the fruits of its labors last Tuesday, collecting its first win of the season with a 3-2 victory over Athens Christian.
The team secured the win by rallying for three straight victories after Housworth fell at the number one singles spot.
Housworth’s loss put the team down 0-2 since the no. 2 doubles spot had already been forfeited, but Kevin Wiley delivered a 8-3 win and the no. 2 singles spot and the rest of the team rallied from there.
Commerce picked up a 8-4 win at the three singles spot from freshman Cody Watson and Hunter Glenn and Brandon Smallwood then clinched the team win with an 8-4 victory at no. 1 doubles.
“We were down 1-2 and they knew they had to win and they did,” Massey said. “I think Kevin winning really sparked them.”
The girls’ team fell the same day after losing all three singles matches but it did take both doubles matches against Athens Christian. Fields and Hutchins won 8-4 in the no. 1 doubles spot and Tiffany Eason and Kelli Whitfield took the no. 2 doubles match 8-5.
Now, the schedule gets a little “crazy” for both teams according to Massey.
Neither team had its usual Tuesday match this week which means the boys’ squad won’t see the tennis court until after Spring break on April 13 when Social Circle visits Commerce. The girls’ squad will just play once before Spring break, facing Prince Avenue Thursday.
The girls return to action after the break with an April 12 meeting with Brenau.
Both team’s home matchups with Athens Christian have been changed from April 15 to April 14.
Also, a makeup date is in the works for the March 18 Social Circle matches that were canceled.


Boys soccer team ties Dawson County
The Banks County boys soccer team tied Dawson County Friday at one goal, the girls team fell to the Tigers.
The boys and girls soccer teams will travel to Rabun County on April 8. The girls game will begin at 5 p.m. and the boys will follow at 6:30 p.m.
BOYS GAME
After the tie with Dawson, the boys season record stands at two wins, one tie and one loss.
Each team in the area is awarded three points for a win, one point for a tie and no points for a loss. Wins against Oglethorpe and Union Counties give the Leopards six points and the tie with Dawson gives them another so the team now has seven points heading into next week’s game against Rabun County, a team that hasn’t won a game all year.
“It looks like we are on a collision course to play Dawson again in the area semi-finals, providing we take care of business at Rabun,” said Banks County coach Don Gillig.
Winners must be decided at area semi-finals so if the teams are tied at the end of regulation time the game will have extra time. If needed, penalty shots from the mark will decide who goes on to the finals.
Banks County’s Auturo Rameriz scored the first goal of the game. He was assisted by Ben Vang, who plays midfield.
“Jeff Creasy made some good decisions in goal to keep the score notted at one,” Gillig said.
GIRLS GAME
The Lady Leopard’s fell to the Dawson County Tigers, 4-0.
Although the girls lost the game, they walked off the field saying to each other, “we’re playing so much better, we’ve really improved.”
Banks County coach Jodie Watkins agreed, “They are improving tremendously. Only five girls on the team have played before.”
The Lady Leopards have three games left to play. They take on Rabun County April 8, Franklin County April 13, and face Union County at home on April 15.
“I’d like to see our offense pick-up and score a few more goals,” said Watkins.
To date the team has scored one goal all season, they’ve played five games.
“The girls are starting to see how to play as a team,” Watkins said.


Another solid showing: Jefferson fairs well at 32-team meet
Sometimes to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best. That’s the motto the Jefferson track squad is using this season, as they endure a stringent schedule full of large weekend meets.
Last Saturday that schedule landed the team in Roswell, where they were the lone Class A school to take part in the 32-team Roswell Relays. It was the third consecutive weekend Jefferson travelled to take part in a sizeable meet full of larger schools.
While the event certainly was as tough as expected, it was also another day of progress for many of the Jefferson athletes, who continued to improve their form.
“This relay meet may have represented the toughest competition (we) will see this season considering that Jefferson was the only Class A school in the 32-team field,” boys coach Tim Corbett said. “Besides one other team, the remaining schools were either (Class) AAAA or AAAAA. A great experience in an excellent environment.”
Both in the standings and personally, several Jefferson athletes did well at the event. In boys action, Stephen Wiley continued to be strong in the triple jump, finishing second with a leap of 44 feet, 9 inches. William Martin also placed in the boys pole vault, after he cleared 11-6, good enough for sixth place overall. On the girls side of things, Shalita Brooks took fourth in the high jump thanks to a leap of five feet, while teammate Shenita Moon was sixth in the long jump with a 16-3 1/4 jump.
While those were the only Jefferson athletes to place in the Relays, the number of personal best performances turned in was high. Wiley’s effort in the long jump (19-11) was his best mark of the season, while Jimmy Garrett also had his best showing in the 3,200 meters (12:54). The 4 X 400-meter relay team of Travis Reed, Andy Martin, Chris Wilburn and Stephen Wiley finished with its best time of the season (3:39.73) as well. Other solid showings in the boys included Courtney Wiley (20-6, long jump) and the 4 X 100-meter relay squad’s 44.7 showing. That team is made up of Reed, Brandon Vinson, Stephen Wiley and Courtney Wiley.
The Jefferson girls were equally impressive with their ability to turn in personal best performances. Alma Solis topped the list with a personal best pole vault on the day. She cleared seven feet. Other personal best showings included: Chelsea Gregory, who was solid in the 3,200 meters (13:53); Shenita Moon, 13.17 in the 100 meters; Karen Moon, 13.60 in the 100 meters; Brittany Caudell, 16.92 in the 100-meter hurdles; Vanessa Guzman, 67.30 split in the 400 meters; Shalita Brooks, 66.60 400-meter split; and Brittany Caudell, 64.10 split in the 400 meters. In addition, two relay performances were the best so far in their respective events for the Lady Dragons. The 4 X 100 meter relay squad (S. Moon, K. Moon, Brooks, and Caudell) finished in 52.82 and the 4 X400-meter relay squad of Caudell, Roberts, Brooks and Guzman (4:28.42) had its best run of the season.


In need of assistance
Young Panther pitchers holding their own but need help, head coach says
Cedar Shoals 7
Jackson Co. 6
It may be hard to tell by their record, but the Jackson County baseball squad is continuing to play well against most of their opponents. Now if they can only find a way to pull out a close game, who knows what a win might do for the team’s confidence.
Recent action saw the Panthers fall to Cedar Shoals on Tuesday and drop a pair of games to Rockdale County on Friday. The losses dropped Jackson County to 0-7 in region play, 0-11 overall.
With just two seniors on the squad, the Panthers have had to endure some growing pains so far in 2004, but based on the way the team has challenged several of its opponents, it appears progress is being made. But that’s not to say their haven’t been some unsettling bumps in the road.
In two of the team’s last three games, solid pitching performances have been a tremendous positive, head coach Scott Roberts said. But what has cost the Panthers has been their play elsewhere.
Against the Jaguars on Tuesday, the game was tied 0-0 with two outs in the sixth inning, but the Panthers still fell 7-6 after two errors aided the Jaguars. They then went on to score seven runs in the inning. Jackson County responded with a four-run sixth inning and two more in the bottom of the seventh, but as has been the case on several occasions this year, they came up just a bit short.
“We got great pitching from Bryan Williams and played great defense for five innings. We got the one bad inning that has hurt us all year in the sixth and it cost us,” Roberts said.
Last Friday, during game one of a double header with the Bulldogs, the Panthers were once again in a close affair — only to come out on the losing end.
Jackson County fell 3-1 despite a solid pitching perfomance by starter Michael Mauldin. The freshman recorded five innings of work, but failed to allow an earned run. Nonetheless though, his team was narrowly defeated. The showing was indicative of the type of performance the Panthers have seen repeatedly this season, according to Roberts.
“Our pitchers are doing a really good job of pitching within themselves and giving us a chance. We have let them down with the bats and with the way we’re playing defense. We’re making some moves try to correct that and give us a better chance to win.”
Matt Myers came in following Maulding to pitch two solid innings of relief, allowing no runs and striking out two. Combined the Panther mound duo allowed no earned runs and sent down five Rockdale County batters on the day combined.
Robert McVay led the way for Jackson County on the day, going 1-for-3 at the plate with an RBI and a stolen base. Kyle Ference added a 1-for-3 effort and Ryne Williams also stole a base and scored Jackson County’s only run of the game.
The score came in the first inning following a McVay single that drove in Williams. A third inning single by Rockdale County put the visitors ahead 3-1, but was aided by errors in the field by the Panthers.
Things did not go nearly as well in the second game of the night for the Panthers, as they failed to put up much of a fight. Rockdale County pounced on the home side’s pitching en route to a demoralizing 12-1 victory. Ference was 1-for-3 and Mauldin 1-for-2 in the losing effort.


Coile steps down as Lady Raider head coach after two seasons
On the heels of a change in football coaching ranks, Madison County High School is now searching for a new girls’ basketball coach.
Latana Coile, who’s been the girls’ team head coach for the past two seasons, officially tendered her resignation from her post last Tuesday in a letter to MCHS principal Wayne McIntosh.
McIntosh said Wednesday that he and new athletic director Randell Owens haven’t set a time table yet for hiring a new coach.
Coile compiled a 15-37 record during her two-year stint. The Lady Raiders struggled through a 4-21 season this past winter.
Coile also served as an assistant coach for two seasons under former head coach Tim Cook before taking over in the 2002-2003 season after Cook left for Northgate High School.
In the letter to McIntosh, Coile cited “family responsibilities and the desire to enhance and further my teaching career” as her reasons for stepping down.
Coile will continue teaching at the high school however.
Though she finished with a sub-.500 record, Coile expressed in the letter pride in the growth of the program, pointing to an overall participation increase over the past two seasons and to the addition of a ninth grade team.
As a coach, Coile had a direct link to the Lady Raider basketball program, playing on the 1981 Madison County girls’ team that won the Class AAA state championship.

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