Area Sports...

APRIL 28, 2004

Girls win region, boys place third
The Commerce girls’ golf team will move on to state while the boys squad came one spot away from qualifying for the Class A tournament, finishing third at Monday’s rainy region tournament at Hard Labor Creek.
“I am proud of both teams,” Commerce golf coach David Stephenson said. “Both exceeded my expectations for this year.”
The girls, who beat Jefferson 247-274 to win the region, will head to Waycross May 10 for the state tournament after being led by low medalist Deanna Brown who shot a 113 at the 8-A tournament.
“She played extremely well,” Stephenson said.
This will be the Commerce girls’ third appearance at state in the last four seasons.
For the third year in a row, the boys placed third, this time finishing behind Athens Academy and Jefferson.
Adam Shirley provided a bright spot for the Tiger team, firing a 76 in the less-than-ideal conditions to finish fourth individually in the region.
“I am really proud of him,” Stephenson said.
No one else broke 80 though as Taylor Glenn (91), David Evans (93) and Chris Willard (93) rounded out the scoring.

Club Leopards head to state
For the second year in a row, Banks County and Greater Atlanta Christian let one stroke decide first and second place at the region tournament held at Hammer’s Glen Monday.
This year, GAC took first with 309, while Banks County finished second with 310. Both teams will head to the state tournament, which will be held May 10 at Coosa Country Club in Rome. Tee times will start at 9 a.m. The team plans to head north a few days early and play a few practice rounds over the weekend. Wesleyan finished third with a 320.
Matt Dale was the low medalist for the tourney, finishing four strokes behind GAC’s top finisher at 69.
“I feel like I shot well, but I could have done better,” Dale said. “It was a good finish and a good win for me.”
Dale also finished as low medalist last year with a 71 in the tourney. He also recently broke a record he set last year for nine holes at Hammer’s Glen. Last year his low score was a 31, this year it was 30.
Dale will attend Augusta State College next year on a golf scholarship. He said he is excited to make the change from high school to college competition and feels he will play well at Augusta.
Jacob Fountain was the next low score for Banks County with a 78. Jazz Hulsey shot an 81 and Seth McCoy had an 82 to total the team at 310. Tanner Goodson also played in the tournament and shot a 93, Chris Carter had a 102.
For the girls, Mallory Turpin, Hannah White and Jessica Lewallan shot for the Lady Leopards. Turpin had the low score for the team with a 106, White shot a 120 and Lewallen had a 122. The teams total, which only included the top two scores instead of four like the boys, was a 226. The Lady Leopards will not play in the state tournament.

JHS student-athlete involved in serious wreck over the weekend
Donation fund set up locally to assist family
A Jefferson High School student-athlete was involved in a serious car accident that resulted in one fatality and left three people injured Saturday in Hall County.
Marc Baskett, 19, of Commerce, was a passenger in a car, driven by fellow JHS student Holly Pitts, involved in the wreck.
According to Georgia State Patrol Trooper Robert Haley an investigation of the accident is still underway and charges were still pending as of press time. The cause of the crash was unknown, he said, but the State Patrol’s Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team will continue to look into the incident further.
Baskett was airlifted to Grady Memorial Hospital’s trauma center in Atlanta on Saturday with a head injury. As of Tuesday, Baskett was in stable condition and his vital signs were “good,” according to school officials. However, he suffered head injuries, a broken right femur and an ankle injury and remains in a drug-induced coma.
Pitts was taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center and later released Saturday. She suffered a leg laceration.
According to the state patrol, no one in either car was wearing a seatbelt.
The two-vehicle, head-on collision took place on Ga. 52 between Ga. 365 and Brookton, west of Lula, in Hall County at approximately 1:27 p.m. The wreck occurred on a curve in front of Clemons Chapel United Methodist Church, leaving the vehicles involved in shambles and forcing a portion of the highway to be closed for nearly three hours. There were no witnesses, Haley said.
The collision was between a 1996 Ford Windstar van driven by Ann C. Smith, 64, of Murrayville and a 1995 Dodge Avenger driven by Pitts, 17, of Jefferson. The victim was George Dean Smith, 59, of Murrayville. He was riding in the van driven by Smith.
The vehicles came to rest on opposite sides of the highway, with the front passenger sides of both cars showing extensive damage.
Ann Smith was taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center for emergency surgery, but her condition could not be confirmed.
Hall County fire officials on the scene reported that the three survivors suffered multiple fractures and internal injuries.
Baskett is the No. 1 singles player on the Dragon boys’ tennis team, as well as a member of the boys’ track and wrestling teams. Both the tennis and track teams are involved in postseason region play this week.
An account has been set up to assist the family of Baskett. Contributions can be made by sending donations to:
The Marc Baskett Donation Fund, Attention: Donna Smith, c/o nBank, P.O. Box 210, Commerce, Georgia 30529.

Lady Panthers state bound for first time ever
For the first time in school history, a Jackson County girls’ golf team will be headed to the state tournament next month.
Thursday at Chateau Elan in Braselton the Lady Panthers earned a trip to the Class AAAA tournament in Augusta thanks to a second-place finish in the Region 8-AAAA tournament. The top two teams from each region now move on to state play.
Jackson County rebounded from a tough opening nine holes of play and turned things around on the back side of the course to end up with a team score of 221. That mark was just one stroke behind region champion Eastside on the day.
For head coach Shawn Lindsey, the performance was indicative of the type of attitude he has preached to his squad all season long.
“Our girls stayed focused on playing the course. The front side hurt, as our No. 1 (Kayla McNeal) and No. 3 (Diana Robinson) shot a pair of 60’s, while our No. 2 (Cortney Franklin) shot a 53. However the back nine was a different story.”
McNeal was able to rebound on the back side and shoot 52, to finish the with a round of 112 on the day. Robinson also rebounded with a 52 and tied McNeal’s 112. Franklin remained consistent throughout the day, finishing as the team’s low medalist with a round of 109.
“We knew heading into this tournament that there were several teams that were evenly talented, but as a team we didn’t talk about everyone else. Our girls stayed focused on playing the course,” Lindsey explained.
The key, Lindsey said, to the squad’s turnaround was a resiliency and a determination that has helped the Lady Panthers win 10 of their 12 matches this season.
“We talked about approaching each nine holes as a separate match, and Kayla and Diana did a great job of turning their day around as they both improved on the back side.”
In the team’s final regular season match played at Royal Lakes against Johnson and West Hall the Lady Panthers were solid en route to their 10th win of the season. Jackson County’s 105 was 12 strokes better than the Lady Knights and well ahead of West Hall (133) on the day.
Cortney Franklin earned low medalist honors with a 52, Diana Robinson added a 53 and Kayla McNeal shot a 54.
“It has been a great season,” Lindsey said. “These girls have done a fine job of representing their school and family, but we’re not finished yet.”
Panthers end season at region tournament
The Jackson County boys’ golf team ended their season last week at the region tournament at Chateau Elan with a 10th-place showing in the 11-team region field. The Panthers shot 382 on the day. Habersham Central won the region crown, with Heritage besting Madison County in a playoff to earn the remaining state berth from Region 8-AAAA.

Raiders roar to second region title in three years
Madison County’s boys’ tennis team will hit the brand-new courts this week at the school sports complex with a future banner already secured for the new home court — “2004 Region 8-AAAA Champions.”
Now the Raiders, who picked up their second region crown in three years, will hope to add some state accolades.
Madison County will host Columbia High School in the opening round of the 32-team state tournament this week. (The day and time of the match had not been set as of press time, but the two schools have until May 4 to complete the first round. And Strickland said the teams will play on the new tennis courts at the sports complex across from the high school.)
“I feel our chances in the first and second rounds are really good,” said Raider head coach Keith Strickland of his squad’s outlook in the state tournament.
Strickland has reason to be optimistic. His squad roared through the region tournament this past week, defeating Clarke Central, 4-0, in the quarterfinals, Salem, 3-1, in the semifinals and Habersham Central, 3-0, in the region finals.
“All of the players played exceptionally well the entire tournament,” Strickland said. “We had good wins from both singles and doubles.”
Strickland said the doubles teams of Jake Alford and Trevor Lanier and Forrest Vereen and Caleb Williams “posted good wins by taking all of their matches in straight sets.”
“We discussed the importance of getting a quick start and ending the match in two sets,” Strickland said. “The singles players did the same by taking five of six matches in straight sets.”
Justin Powers had pivotal matches in the semis and finals. Strickland said Colby Phillips “played his best match of the tournament” to give the Raiders a 2-0 lead in the finals. Ethan Dean was on his way to victory at 6-2, 1-1 when his match was suspended, while Alford and Lanier remained undefeated at #1 doubles in region play going 13-0 this season.
Here is a recap of region tournament action:
•#1 Singles —Colby Phillips defeated Gerald de la Paquirie 6-3, 6-4.
•#2 Singles — Justin Powers defeated Michael Aronson 6-1, 6-4.
•#1 Doubles — Jake Alford and Trevor Lanier defeated Kenny Covert and Richard Marquez 6-0, 6-0.
•#2 Doubles — Forrest Vereen and Caleb Williams defeated Adam McCrobie and Michael Jones 6-0, 6-0.
•#1 Singles — Colby Phillips lost to Niel Kuttappan 0-6, 3-6.
•#2 Singles — Justins Powers defeated Alex Walker 7-5, 6-4.
•#1 Doubles — Jake Alford and Trevor Lanier defeated Chris Mburu and Justin Smith 6-4, 6-4.
•#2 Doubles — Forrest Vereen and Caleb Williams defeated Tyler Stewart and Nathan Whitson 6-2. 6-3.
•#1 Singles — Colby Phillips defeated Tyler Knight 6-3, 6-3
•#2 Singles — Justin Powers defeated Dustin Pitts 7-5, 7-5
•#1 Doubles — Jake Alford and Trevor Lanier defeated Jonathan Brown and Alan Pierce 6-0, 6-3
•#3 Singles — Ethan Dean led 6-2, 1-1 when his match was suspended.
•#2 Doubles — Forrest Vereen and Caleb Williams led 6-0, 3-4 when their match was suspended.

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