signs of improvement
Banks County wrestling team taking early season
Banks County wrestling season is in full swing with positive
results from several early season matches and several more matches
ahead on the schedule.
This weekend, December 10 and 11, the team will travel to Lumpkin
County to compete in one of the biggest tournaments in North
Georgia, the John Smith Mountaineer Tournament. Tuesday, December
17, wrestlers will travel to Stephens County to wrestle a quad
meet against Stephens County, Oconee County and Flowery Branch.
Then on Thursday, the team will travel to Dawson County to face
a region competitor. On Friday, December 18, the team will wrestle
in the Habersham Duals.
Off to a good start
The Banks County wrestling team is off to a good start earning
several points for pinning opponents.
Grapplers started the season in Lumpkin County Tuesday, November
30, with matches against Lumpkin and Habersham counties. Although
the team fell short of a win, several individual grapplers won
their matches. Saul McCoy, Jeremy Angel, Dustin McDuffie, John
Wray, Lloyd Willis and Dewayne Bailey all won matches Tuesday
Banks County coach Tim Bragg said the first match showed him
a much improved wrestling team.
“We’ve got to see the long term goals and achieve
them by accomplishing the short term goals that will get us there,”
he said. “We will get better everyday and take advantage
of every challenge in order to reach a high standard.”
Habersham County earned 60 points over Banks County’s 34
and Lumpkin County wrestlers earned 69 points to beat Banks County’s
Friday, December 3, the Leopards wrestled in Habersham County.
They took the mat against Appalachee, one of the top ranked programs
in the state, and AAAA Cedar Shoals. The Leopards brought an
aggressive style that made the matches competitive and close.
Bragg said the wrestlers once again stepped up their performance
on the mat and improved over the previous match.
“I feel like each time we step on the mat we have a great
opportunity to get better,” he said. “I see us accepting
these challenges and building more self-confidence in our style
of wrestling. Every match, win or lose, is a chance to learn
and get better and the team is working hard to come together
and get closer during these battles.”
Wrestlers traveled to Flowery Branch Saturday to compete in the
first of many tournaments to be held this season.
Grapplers took the mat against wrestlers from Northside-Columbus,
Peachtree Ridge, East Hall, Flowery Branch and Oglethorpe County.
Angel pinned his Northside opponent in 30 seconds, earning his
team six points. Wray also won his Northside match by a pin.
Banks County had to forfeit four matches due to the fact they
didn’t have wrestlers in the respective weight classes.
Tyler Smallwood won his match against a Peachtree Ridge opponent
by a pin. Wray pinned a Peachtree Ridge wrestler as well.
As a team, Banks County defeated East Hall, 42-30, and Oglethorpe
County, 42-36. Angel pinned his Oglethorpe opponent in 10 seconds.
Several other Leopards recorded quick pins against Oglethorpe
and East Hall. Most of Banks County’s wins by pins came
from the weight of the team, those in the 171, 189, 215 and 275
Individual results from the tournament are as follows: Angel,
three wins, two losses, three pins; Dustin McDuffie, three wins,
two losses, three pins; Smallwood, three wins, one loss, three
pins; Wray, three wins, no losses, three pins; Cory Schmid, two
wins, three losses, one pin; Saul McCoy, one win, three losses,
Wray remains undefeated.
Last week, wrestlers held a Pepsi fundraiser to raise money for
team T-shirts and parent sweat shirts. The team raised $1,500
for the spirit appareal.
Bragg said tremendous parent support was evident by the sight
of the parent team shirts seen in the stands.
“Parent support is great,” Bragg said. “We
feel it is important to give the parents something to show how
much we appreciate what they do. Besides, it is always good to
see Leopard support, that can also be recognized in the crowd.”
Dragons to continue
stringent non-region schedule Friday
Trip to No. 1 ranked Whitefield set for
Friday; seven-day layoff to follow
By the time the Jefferson boys basketball team begins postseason
play, it’s safe to say the No. 6 Dragons will have seen
the best Class A has to offer.
After playing host to last week’s No. 1 team, Southwest
Atlanta Christian, last Saturday, the Dragons will travel to
this week’s new No. 1 team, Whitefield Academy, on Friday.
This time though the Dragons will hope to come away with a win.
During Saturday’s contest with the Warriors, Jefferson
came out sluggish in the first half and fell behind 40-20 at
the half. Although they played much better in the second half,
according to head coach Bolling DuBose, the effort was still
short of what the Dragons are capable.
“You’ve got to match their intensity if you’re
going to play with them and we did not do that in the first half,”
DuBose said. “We played much better in the second half,
at one point cutting the lead down to 12, but it was disappointing
in the sense that we didn’t play our best for 32 minutes.”
Friday’s meeting with Whitefield Academy will be a similar
type game, DuBose expects, although he feels like the Wolfpack
are an even better team than the Warriors.
“We’d love to beat the number one team, and if we
play well enough to do it then great.”
The stricter non-region schedule this season is the result of
last year’s upset loss in the state tournament, DuBose
said. Despite a top seed and a team that won 17 games in a row
at one point, the Dragons were upended by W.D. Mohammed in the
“The reason I put (SW Atlanta Christian) and Whitefield
Academy on the schedule was to make us a better team,”
DuBose said. “Last year I felt like we won all those games,
yeah, but we really didn’t play anybody in the second half
of the season.”
Against the Wolfpack on Friday, DuBose expects his squad to face
a tremendous defensive team that has a slew of returning starters
from last year’s state runner-up squad. The Wolfpack lost
to SW Atlanta Christian and top NBA draft pick Dwight Howard
in the Class A state championship game.
“This in going to be a real challenge for us this Friday,”
DuBose said. Teams like that show you real quick what you need
to work on.”
Jefferson can expect to see a zone press which the Wolfpack like
to use to try and force turnovers before dropping back into man-to-man
defense. Whether the Dragons are able to take care of the basketball
and not commit turnovers often will be key if they hope to pull
of the upset.
DuBose said the way to beat the pressure is by using short, quick
passes and having players come to meet the ball. Dribbling through
the press against a solid trapping team like Whitefield is tough
to do, he said.
“I hope this Friday will be a good learning experience
and will help make us a better team,” said the Jefferson
Panthers let lead slip away at Hart Co.
Unfortunately for Jackson County there are no
consolation prizes in basketball.
Despite leading for three of the four quarters of play on Saturday
at Hart County, the Lady Panthers were handed their fifth loss
of the season, and the team's third in a row. The Lady Bulldogs
rallied from a three point deficit in the fourth quarter, then
pulled away for a 51-44 win over the Lady Panthers.
The loss had Jackson County head coach Chad Pittman with mixed
emotions following his still youthful squad's latest setback.
On the one hand, he was extremely pleased with the play his squad
displayed for much of then night, with solid rebounding and point
production topping the list of positives, he said. On the other
hand though, the sluggish nature the Lady Panthers displayed
late in the contest left him a bit frustrated.
"Well, we led for 28 minutes and then we decided we didn't
want to win the game," Pittman quipped. "We had three
key turnovers down the stretch and they had some key offensive
Despite the result, the game was in many ways a marked improvement
from some previous affairs this season, mainly because the offense
was flowing better. Nonetheless, Jackson County is shooting poorly
as a whole from the field, behind the 3-point arc and especially
at the free throw line, Pittman said. The Lady Panthers are below
35 percent from the field, in the 20's when shooting 3-pointers
and are at a 43 percent clip from the foul line. All are numbers
Pittman hopes will go up as the season continues.
The one main constant so far this season for Jackson County has
been the play of guards Tynishia Berry and Brooke Hughes. The
two have led the Lady Panthers in scoring through much of their
games and again did so Saturday night. For the season Berry,
a junior, was averaging 19 points per game heading into this
week. Hughes, a sophomore, was second on the team in scoring
with 12 points per game.
Berry poured in a team-high 19 points, and Hughes added 12 during
Saturday's loss, but they were also very effective on the boards.
Berry grabbed a team-high 13 rebounds Saturday and Hughes pulled
The two will be counted on even more heavily now, because of
the recent departure of guard Jaimeca Cooper who is no longer
with the team, according to Pittman. She left for personal reasons.
"We've had to kind of change our mentality some (because
of her departure)," he said. With Cooper no longer with
the team now, Pittman noted the importance players with less
experience will play.
Saturday, it was the play of one of Jackson County's freshman
that caught their head coach's eye. Freshman post player Emma
Turner had six points and continued to make progress down low.
Jackson County jumped out to a five point lead thanks to a 17-point
first quarter. They carried that momentum into the second where
they upped the margin to 29-22 by the half. Hart County took
over in the second half, mainly in the fourth quarter. Jackson
County was outscored 17-7 in the period as the Lady Bulldogs
took control and held on for the victory.
"As a whole, we played pretty solid except for three or
four minutes down there at the end," Pittman said. He remains
upbeat regarding his team's progress so far this season. "I
do see some improvement," he explained. "We've been
in every game except one."
Cheer Tigers Overcome Injuries,
Win Weekend Meet
A short-handed Commerce competitive cheerleading
team was still steady-handed enough to earn a victory this past
weekend, tallying 211 points to get a win over Greater Atlanta
Christian at a meet held at Woodstock.
The injury-riddled cheer Tigers got the victory using two alternates
and a scaled-down routine with Deanna Brown and Laura Cummings
still missing from the team due to ailments.
The team had four cheerleaders out at one time during the preseason.
“We did a good job with our injuries and two alternates,”
Tiger cheerleading coach Dianne Cotrell said. “ ... Our
stunts hit. I was really proud of them.”
It was the first meet for the team this year after having to
skip its original opener at Gainesville due to the amount of
cheer Tigers on the disabled list.
The team was originally slated to compete at Dawson County this
past weekend but had to scrap that meet due to a new rule that
only allows 40 teams per competition. .
That sent Cotrell searching for an alternate meet and the team
was able to find a spot at the Woodstock event and pickup up
a win in the Class A/AA division.
While Cotrell is happy with the victory, she warns that her three-time
defending state champion team has a lot of work left to do if
its going to keep its crown again this winter.
The team is just now getting back to having close to full squad
for practice and competition as Brown is supposed to return this
week. Cummings will still be sidelined.
Cotrell said her team has enough personnel now to go back to
its original, more complex routine that the coach said involves
four stunt groups rather than just three which it used this past
“It’s really all beginning for us now,” she
For the rest of the story see this weeks Commerce News.
Madison County could never work its way back
from a third quarter funk this past Tuesday night and because
of that, will have to try to find a way to work its way back
to the win column this weekend.
The Raiders (2-2) will take on Heritage Friday and Rockdale Saturday
as they continue to face 8-AAAA clubs from the other side of
Holding a 32-31 over Loganville heading into the second half
thanks to a buzzer beating put back by Josh Mattox right before
halftime, the Raiders were ambushed in the third quarter by the
Red Devils who surged past Madison County with a 12-1 run and
went on to hold off Madison County in a 56-49 win.
The Raiders, which hadn’t played in a week, eventually
cut the lead to 47-46 with a fast-break lay up by Brent Bird
with 6:59 left in the game but shot themselves in the foot down
the stretch in falling for the second time this year.
For Madison County, which was looking to even the score against
the Red Devils after a 74-45 thrashing last year, this was perhaps
their first letdown of season in falling to a Loganville team
which lost several players from last year and are in a transitional
period with a new coach right now.
For the rest of thes story see this weeks Madison County Journal.