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|SPORTS SECTION - DECEMBER 8, 1999|
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Tigers To Face Lincoln County In Semifinal Game At Georgia Dome
BY DREW BRANTLEY
Something seems familiar about Commerce's visit to the Georgia Dome.
While the Tigers have not played in the Georgia High School Association semifinals since the games began being played at the home of the SEC championship game, Peach Bowl and the Atlanta Falcons, the opponent in the game is not foreign to Commerce.
Last year, Commerce went out in the second round to the Red Devils 47-23.
But playing Lincoln County in the Georgia Dome that will be televised by Georgia Public Television is all secondary, Tiger coach Steve Savage said.
"We're excited to be playing," Savage said. "But the dome is not the deal. The deal is to play another game."
RISE, FALL, RISE
Lincoln County lost the Class A final game last year to Darlington. They opened this season with a 24-19 loss to Buford. The Red Devils went on to lose to Athens Academy and Washington-Wilkes.
But since entering the playoffs, the team has not lost.
"People talk about this being a down year for Lincoln County," Savage said. "But I thought that they've made tremendous improvements as the year went on."
Lincoln County could almost apply for honorary membership in Region 8-A. After beating Greater Atlanta Christian in last year's semifinal, the Red Devils will have played all of the Region 8-A playoff teams.
Lincoln County beat Dawson County 40-7 two weeks ago and opened with the loss to Buford.
In 1990, Commerce reached the semifinals of the Class A playoffs, only to be downed by Lincoln County 34-20.
This Saturday, the Tigers will get another crack at their playoff nemesis.
"We're 0-4 to them since I've been here," Commerce coach Steve Savage said. "Maybe we can change that this Saturday."
Commerce and Lincoln County had two regular season games in 1986 and 1987. The Red Devils won both times, 13-6 and 54-0, respectively.
Lights, cameras and plenty of action are on tap this weekend in Atlanta at the Georgia High School Football Association football semifinal games at the Georgia Dome.
Eight games, featuring the final four teams in the state playoffs, will be broadcast on Georgia Public Television this Friday and Saturday. On Alltel Teleview cable company for Commerce and Jefferson, the game is on channels 8 and 13.
The games begin each day at noon with a Class A match-up. Games of the next class up follow, with a Class AAAA game finishing the day's ledger.
Commerce and Lincoln County will open Saturday's action. Kickoff is set for 12:08 p.m. Tickets are $12 each for each day and are good for all the day's games.
Tigers Dump Dooly
CHS Thwarts Bobcats In Battle Of Top-Ranked Teams
BY DREW BRANTLEY
A playoff game with the two top-ranked teams seemed to foretell an epic battle.
After an unsure first quarter, any melee turned to slaughter for the Commerce Tigers in their 36-15 win over Dooly County Friday night in Vienna.
Commerce turned its first possession over on downs, yielding to a 15-play scoring drive by the Bobcats. But starting with the second quarter, the Tigers could strut as the top cats.
A 69-yard scoring drive ensued, capped by Daniel Carder's pass to Michael Collins for 35 yards. Dooly County jumped offsides twice on the point after attempt. Carder took a keeper in for two points to give the Tigers the 8-3 lead they would never relinquish.
Dooly County's next drive stalled at the Commerce 45. Monté Williams and Twion Shealer moved the ball down to the 2. Carder took a keep in for the second Tiger touchdown to make the lead 15-3.
Commerce recovered a fumble on the next kickoff, but turned the ball back over on its next play.
The Bobcats marched down and threw a pass that was caught in the end zone with just more than two seconds left in the first half. But a pass interference call on Dooly County kept the points off the board. Commerce forced an incompletion on the next to keep the lead.
Dooly had played catch-up in its last two playoff wins. Using a pass attack to attempt a surge back in the game, the Bobcats met with disasster on most of their second half drives.
Collins picked off a pass on the Bobcats' first drive in the third quarter. Commerce used three plays to make the score 22-3.
Carder stopped the next Dooly County drive with an interception at the Tiger 33. Commerce drove the ball to the Bobcat 37 before turning the ball over on downs.
Dooly County used the run and pass to score its first touchdown with 2:03 left in the third quarter.
Even though the Tigers did not get points on their next drive, a punt left Dooly County the ball at its own 21.
On the Bobcats' second play of the drive, Carder intercepted another pass. Williams ran three times to reach pay dirt and make the score 29-9.
Williams then ended the next Dooly County drive with a one-handed interception. Returning to the other side of the ball, a 50-yard touchdown run by Williams broke the will of the Bobcats.
Dooly County produced another touchdown with 3:07 to go on a Tiger defense depleted of most of half of its starters.
Williams thrilled the crowd on the Tigers' final drive by using most of the field to move the ball deep into Dooly territory, allowing Commerce to fall on the ball for the win.
CHS Girls In Action
Subregion Games Rescheduled
The football playoffs have scrambled the early schedule for the Commerce basketball teams.
While the boys' team will not play until the football team have finished, the girls team have been able to pick up some of the games.
The Lady Tigers junior varsity and varsity teams were scheduled to play at Athens Academy Tuesday, but results were not available.
The subregion schedule was to have started this Friday night at home against Buford and followed with a road game against Wesleyan. Both of those games will be played at a later date.
The teams are scheduled to play Providence Friday, Dec. 17, but that game could also be rescheduled if the football team remains in the playoffs.
The girls opened the season with a win over Lakeview Academy Nov. 23.
BCHS teams improve subregion record
Boys, girls sweep Tallulah Falls; to face Rabun Co., Union Co.
Even though the season is barely two weeks old, Banks County's basketball teams are close to having a picture of how the whole season should look.
After picking up wins in their first two subregion games, the Leopard teams will have played all but two teams in Region 8-A North in the span of a week. Banks County will play Rabun County, Union County and Dawson County from this Friday to the next.
Banks County will travel to Rabun County this Friday. The Wildcat boys' team is predicted by many to be the best team in the subregion.
Union County will come calling next Tuesday with what should be one of the better girls' teams on Banks County's side of the region.
The Leopard teams will travel Dec. 17 to Dawson County for Banks County's last subregion game before the Christmas break.
TWO AT 2-0
Banks County continued its early roll in the subregion Tuesday night with a sweep of Tallulah Falls in Homer.
The girls beat the Lady Indians 64-46. The Leopards downed Tallulah Falls 84-66. That, coupled with a sweep last week over Rabun Gap, has both teams at 2-0 in Region 8-A North.
Bree Whitlock was the feeder in the Lady Leopards' win over Tallulah Falls, with 14 assists. Her passes helped three other players reach double figures in scoring.
That came off the heels of a quadruple double last week against Rabun Gap, when she had 10 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists and 10 steals.
Michelle Snipes led the team with 16 points against Tallulah Falls. Haley Crumley had 12 points, and Brooke Shubert added 11.
Other scorers for the girls included: Brittany Holcomb, Holly House and Johnna Williams with four each; Kate Whitfield with three and Laura Carlyle and Regina Veal with two each.
Victor Bonds continued his dominance under the boards for the Leopards against Tallulah Falls with 23 points and 18 rebounds. Over the last three games he has averaged 20 points and 20 boards per contest.
Blakley Crumley added 18 points and seven rebounds. Justin Smith had 15 points and seven assists. Mike Ivey scored four points, and led the team with six steals.
Other scorers included: Bray Maxwell with four and Chris Ivey and Casey Murray with three each.
The team shot better than 50 percent from the floor for the game and grabbed 43 rebounds.
"I was pleased with the way we came out pumped up and ready to play," Leopard coach Mike Ruth said. "We stuck it to them, made some good shots and handled their press well. We put in some subs in the second quarter because our starters had played a quarter and half and they got back in the game. We had a heart-to-heart at halftime and told our younger guys that we need to be able to play eight to 10 guys who can play four quarters. We did much better in the second half."
Bonds led the Leopards with 32 points and 19 rebounds in a 93-78 loss to Jefferson last Saturday.
B. Crumley had 19 points and 15 rebounds. Justin Smith also scored in double figures with 10 points.
H. Crumley led the girls with 17 points in a 75-54 loss to the Lady Dragons. Whitlock added nine points. Snipes scored eight points.
Banks County will play in the WJJC Holiday Tournament in Commerce Dec. 29 and 30. Banks County will open against Oglethorpe County with the girls game starting at 4 p.m. and boys to follow. Championship and consolation games will be played the second day.
Banks County will pick its subregion schedule back up at home against Lakeview Academy on Tuesday, Jan. 4.
Banks JV teams split
BY ADAM FOUCHE
The Banks County junior varsity basketball teams earned a split with Jefferson last Saturday. The girls picked up a 35-27 victory, while the boys' team fell 73-39.
Friday, both junior varsity teams are scheduled to travel to Rabun County for a 4:15 matchup. The Banks County JV boys were supposed to face Tallulah Falls Tuesday night, however results were not available at press time.
In what seemed more like a hockey match than a basketball game, the Lady Leopards used an aggressive attack on both sides of the ball to take the victory over the Lady Dragons.
Maggie Elrod led Banks County with nine points. Joni Martin added eight. Also scoring were: Megan Williams and Ashley Strickland, six points each; and Kristen Carlan, Taffy Carruth and Ryan Varner, two points each.
In what was their first game of the season, the Leopards were handed a disappointing 73-39 loss to start the year.
Cody Whitlock did his share of scoring for Banks County, putting up 18 points on the board. Bill Krause added six, and both Will Gordon and Randall Norman had four points apiece. Other scorers included: Corey Sims and Chris Jones, two points; and David Creasey and Ryan Loggins, one point each.
Dragons take Panther crown; Jackson County third
Jefferson overcomes stiff competition to defend title
In an exciting two days of wrestling, the Jefferson Dragons successfully defended their championship at the Panther Invitational. With only five of 14 starters returning from last year's squad, Jefferson surprised the field for the second consecutive year. Westminster, the tournament champion in 96 and 97, repeated as runner-up to Jefferson.
The class A Dragons topped 17 other teams in the tournament, 15 of which were class AA or larger.
Both Jefferson and Jackson County were in contention for the championship throughout the tournament, though favorite Westminster looked to be unstoppable. After Friday night's action, Westminster held the lead with 59.5 points. Jefferson was second at 59, Gilmer County third at 50.5 and Jackson County fourth with 47.5.
In addition to the lead, the Wildcats held the upper hand, with eight wrestlers in the critical semifinal round. Jefferson and Jackson County each had only five, while Gilmer had six. A single win in the semifinals is worth a minimum of 12 team points.
Both local teams must have been pleased with the semifinal results. Westminster lost five of eight matches in the round, as all of the top four teams sent three men to the championship round. Only 15 points separated the top four teams.
Jefferson surged ahead in the consolation round, jumping out to a 10-point lead over Westminster. Jackson County was knocked out of contention in the consolation round, but both Gilmer and Westminster still had a chance.
Freshman Hunter Garner sealed the win for the Dragons with a 4-3 victory. The final tally saw Jefferson at 160.5, Westminster 150, Jackson County 148.5 and Gilmer County 146.5.
Jeremiah Wilson took the top honor in the 103-pound class and Garner was first at 140. Eric Wilburn finished second at 135. Wilson was the high scorer in team points for Jefferson, with 25. Wilburn contributed 22, and Garner 21.
Wilson turned in perhaps the most exciting match of the tournament for Jefferson, winning in the crucial semifinal round by scoring a takedown against his Westminster opponent as time ran out to win, 5-3. Though Wilson's win did not clinch Jefferson's victory, his match would later prove to be pivotal, as Westminster would have won the tournament if he'd lost.
Justin Gooch took third at 125 in a nail-biter, scoring a two-point reversal in the final seconds to win, 6-4.
Other medal winners for the Dragons were Jeremy Smith, third at 130 and Michael Albea, fourth at 112. Blake Gooch (119), Joseph Carter (145) and Chris Seibert (171) finished fifth.
All 14 of Jefferson's wrestlers won matches in the tournament, and scored points for the team. Winning matches were Jon Veldhuis (152), Zach Evans (160), David Parks (189), Clint Bryson (215) and Brendon Kemp (275).
Jefferson coach Jack Keen said all his wrestlers should be congratulated for an excellent performance in winning the team's first tournament of the season.
Next up for the Dragons is a dual meet with Hart County and host Riverside tonight (Wednesday), followed by the Mount-aineer Invitational this weekend at North Georgia College.
By Tim Thomas
Jefferson basketball coaches Bolling DuBose and Kevin Jacobs must be smiling. Their teams combined this week for five wins.
The Lady Dragons started the week by demolishing Lovett, 66-32. Lee DuBose nearly topped the Lions alone, scoring 30 points and picking up 16 rebounds. Staci Childress put 15 on the board, and Raven Moon had seven assists. Jefferson held Lovett to single-digit scoring in three of the four periods.
Jacob's girls picked up their first subregion win of the year Friday over Wesleyan, 73-58. Though they were outscored 23-9 in the third period, the Lady Dragons held on to win, thanks to the 44-20 lead they had built up in the first half.
DuBose was still hot, with 21 points and nine rebounds. Annie Goza followed closely with 19 points and seven boards, Moon scored 11 and grabbed seven, and Childress had eight rebounds and seven assists.
The shots fell right for all the Lady Dragons Saturday, as they sent Banks County home with a 75-54 loss. Jefferson outscored the Lady Leopards in all four periods of the game.
DuBose capped off an impressive week with 18 points and eight rebounds, while Childress gave her per-game average a boost with an 18-point performance, in addition to seven rebounds. Goza hit for 17, and pulled in 13 rebounds, Melinda Floyd scored 14, and Moon added seven assists to her total.
Jefferson's boys also took convincing wins over Wesleyan (77-60) and Banks County (93-78).
The Wolves hung with Jefferson early, as the first-period score showed an anemic 10-7 Dragon lead. But Buzz Wehunt scorched the net with 15 of his 21 points in the second to put the team up 37-25 at intermission. Michael Newton hit four three-pointers on his way to scoring 16, Nick Sheridan had 14, and Daniel Goza scored 10. Wehunt and Goza were just getting warmed up.
Jefferson finished the first period of Saturday's Banks County game tied at 17. Goza garnered nearly all of Jefferson's opening-frame points, finishing the period with 13.
If the Leopards thought they were in the game, their expectations were dashed in the second period. Wehunt went on a tear, racking up an amazing 20 points, while his teammates added 15 more. The halftime score was 52-32.
Banks County tried to rally, outscoring Jefferson 23-15 in the third, but Wehunt came on in the fourth and put in 11 more as his team strolled to victory.
Wehunt finished with 35 points, raising his per-game average to 23.6. Goza had 20, and is averaging 17.4 points and 15.4 rebounds per game. Ryan Gurley added 13 points, and Kyle Potts and Tim Norwood had eight each.
Next up for the Dragons are Providence and Greater Atlanta Christian at home Friday and Saturday. The teams will compete in the North Georgia College Christmas Tournament beginning next weekend.
Panthers in the hunt late, finish strong in finals
Jackson County's wrestlers finished a close third in last weekend's Panther Invitational. The final tally had Jackson County only 1.5 points behind second-place Westminster, and 12 behind Jefferson.
Jarad Herrington surprised the field at 125 pounds, beating defending AAA state 119-pound champion Paul Stansbury of Dacula in the championship match. Coaches named Herrington the tournament's most outstanding wrestler.
Jackson County fans engulfed Herrington after his match, so much so that the team was penalized one point. The penalty almost cost the team second place.
Jackson County was in the hunt for the tournament title throughout, but the Panthers were knocked out of contention in the consolation round. Although they were out of the championship race, Jackson County owned the final round. The Panthers finished with three tournament champions, the most of any team participating.
Rusty Colley earned an exciting win in the semifinal round, scoring a two-point reversal and two-point near fall in the closing seconds to win, 13-12. Colley went on to win the 119-pound championship.
Brian Bowles was the tournament champion at 130. Jackson County was the only team to finish with three champions.
Stephen Ledbetter finished third at 135, Jason Powers third at 103, Wesley Colley fourth at 145, David Elkins fifth at 160 and Brian Gower fifth at 275. Travis Ingram also won a match and earned team points at 152.
Other wrestlers competing for Jackson County were Tony Chapin (140), Jordan Breit (171), Kyle Davis (189) and Brad Smith (215).
Head-to-head competition was very close among the local teams. Jefferson won three of five matches against Jackson County, but the Panthers earned 16 team points in their two wins against the Dragons. Jefferson picked up 8.5 against Jackson County.
Jackson County added two more wins to its dual-match record Tuesday, taking a 55-12 victory over host Central Gwinnett and upsetting sixth-ranked Henry County, 37-33.
On tap for the Panthers is the Mountaineer Invitational at North Georgia College this weekend, followed by a dual match against Johnson and Oglethorpe County at the Gordon Street Center.
Panthers maul West
By Tim Thomas
Friday night's basketball games at West Hall had it all - rowdy fans, a rout, a nail-biting finish, and impressive scoring runs by both the home and visiting teams. When the final buzzer sounded, both Jackson County teams had earned their first sub-region wins of the season.
Coach Annette Watts' Lady Panthers jumped out to an early lead over West Hall, up by 20 at the half. Jackson County played a stifling press on defense, while racking up the points on offense. The Lady Panthers rolled to what looked like an insurmountable lead, up 42-22 at intermission.
The Lady Spartans began to press in the third period, and their efforts paid off. West Hall turned the game around in amazing fashion, outscoring Jackson County 22-10 in the third. The effort invigorated the West Hall faithful, and fans on each side of the gymnasium kept the rafters pounding with noise for the remainder of the game.
Jackson County was called often for fouling in the fourth, and West Hall took a 62-61 lead with less than three minutes left. The teams swapped scores until the final minute. The Panthers held a slim 68-65 lead with 37 seconds remaining. Players on both benches could be seen biting their nails.
In the end, the Lady Panthers were too strong, as they scored four in a row to finish the game at 72-65.
The Spartans started well enough in the boys' game, getting a slam and grabbing a turnover to take an early 4-0 lead. The Panthers missed their first two field goals, but B.J. Wilmont shook off the cobwebs with a jumper in the lane to bring his team to life. Jackson County roared back with scoring streaks of six, eight, and nine points in the first period to take a 28-13 lead.
Jackson County hit several three-pointers in the opening frame, while West Hall couldn't buy a shot from outside the line. The Spartans closed the gap a bit during the second, as Jackson County cooled a bit. West Hall outscored the Panthers 17-14 in the second period, to close the half at 42-30.
Jackson County put the game on ice with an overwhelming performance in the third period. Wilmont got his team started again, with two points at the beginning of the second half, and moments later the Panthers had run up nine unanswered points. Jackson County matched their first-period score of 28 points to take a 70-49 lead into the fourth. West Hall could never mount a threat, and the Panthers took the game 89-65.
"I really thought the key to the game was our inside play," said coach Ron Garren. "Both B.J. and Rodrick Gresham played well on both ends of the floor." The two big men were powerful forces for the Panthers throughout the game.
Michael Savadge was 5-for-7 from the floor, scoring a career-high 13 points.
"If he [Savadge] can continue to come off the bench and provide that kind of offense, that will definitely be the key," said Garren.
Wilmont had 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Gresham poured in 15 points and grabbed 17 rebounds. Blake Wilson scored 12.
The Lady Panthers took their third win of the season Tuesday night at Habersham Central, 58-49. Jackson County led by 10 after the first period, but only three after the third.
"We played very sluggish," said Watts. "I was not happy with the team's hustle."
Monic Stewart led Jackson County with 14 points, followed by Abrielle Varnum (11) and Megan Elliott (10).
Jackson County's boys managed to get by Habersham's three big men to sqeeze out a 75-71 win.
Habersham, ranked in the top 10 in class AAA, features three men who are 6'7" or taller, including one who is 6'11".
Wilmont led the Panthers with 23 points and 11 rebounds, and Gresham had 18 points and 11 boards. Blake Wilson had 22, including 6-for-10 from the foul line.
The score was tied at 71 late in the game, when Tim Watson drove the length of the floor for a two-point layup. It was Watson's only score of the game, but it was crucial.
"That was a big bucket," Garren said.
Following the play, Gresham blocked a shot by the Raiders' 6'11" all-state player, and Habersham was forced to foul. Two more points for the Panthers finished the scoring.
The ball will bounce a lot for the Panthers this week, as they host Madison County Friday before going on the road to face North Hall Saturday and Oconee County Tuesday. All three games are sub-region matchups.
Weekend note: The West Jackson Middle School basketball team will travel across the river Saturday to take on East Jackson. Tipoff is set for 10 a.m.
Girls romp North Hall 75-46; boys fall 65-43
BY BEN MUNRO
Madison County's girls' and boys' basketball squads found themselves on opposite ends of lopsided contests Tuesday night at home against North Hall as the girls' team pummeled the Lady Trojans by a score of 75-46, while the boys' team got hammered by the Trojans by a count of 65-43.
The scoring tandem of Tawana Moon and Brittney Escoe paced the Lady Raiders, 5-1, in their 29-point romp as Moon led the way with 21 points while Escoe followed with 17 points.
With the game tied at 6-6 midway through the first quarter, Madison County exploded over the course of the last 4:57 of the quarter, getting red-hot from the floor as the team went on a 22-1 run highlighted by three pointers from Renee Matthews and Moon to take a 29-7 heading into the second quarter.
The Lady Raiders then took a 33-7 lead with 6:12 left in the quarter as Escoe hit a crowd-pleasing, acrobatic lay-up, tossing the ball up in the air while falling out of bounds under the basket to give her squad the 26-point edge. However, the Lady Trojans cut into Madison County's big lead going into the half as they went on a 17-7 run to chop the Lady Raider edge to 40-24.
North Hall then cut the lead down to 11 points coming out the gate in the second half as they outscored the Lady Raiders 7-1 to make the score 41-30 with 6:07 in the third quarter. But Madison County pushed themselves out to a comfortable lead again as they outscored the Lady Trojans 10-2 over the course of the last three minutes of the quarter to head into the final period of play up by 18 points.
Madison County didn't let up in the fourth quarter as the squad led by as much as 31 points en route to the victory.
Those adding points in the scoring book were Aiyana Hunter, who had a strong game with 12 points; Ashley Myers, who tallied seven; Wintre Hubbard and Sheena Mason, who had five, Stacie Beard, who had four; Matthews, who finished with three, and Ashley Collins, who added one.
North Hall's Jacob Thome gave the Red Raiders, 3-3, fits all night long as the Trojan guard ripped the Raiders for 33 points, including two dunks, in North Hall's 65-43 win in Danielsville.
Thome, who accounted for over half his team's points, was all over the place early on as he lit up the scoreboard in the first quarter with 15 points, helping his squad to put together a 17-0 and claim a 20-5 edge heading into the second period of play.
The Red Raiders fell behind by as many as 22 points during the second quarter before stringing together a 10-2 run during the last three and a half minutes of the period to help chop the down to 36-22 towards the end of the half.
However, the Raiders were pushed back in a hole as North Hall scored the first 10 points of the second half to claim a 26-point edge with 5:15 left in the third quarter.
Madison County attempted to get back into the contest toward the end of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth as they went on a 10-0 run to cut North Hall's edge to 51-36 with 6:47 left in the fourth quarter. But that's all the squad was able to get as North Hall went on to claim the one-sided road win.
Travelle Heard led the Raiders with 10 points. Chris Lattimore had seven. Jonathon Berrian, Chad Youngblood, Chad Gillespie and Drew Sparks each tallied four points. Trellis Appling chipped in three. Donny Stamper had two and Taylor Owen added a free throw.
Raider squads to face tough competition this weekend
BY ZACH MITCHAM
Madison County boys' and girls' basketball teams downed Oconee County in Danielsville Saturday 65-59 and 53-43.
The win improved the Raiders to 3-2 on the year and the Lady Raiders moved to 4-1.
While both teams had winning records through five games, this week may provide the first real gut checks for Raider squads.
Madison County, which faced North Hall Tuesday night (see story above), will travel to Jackson County Friday, the girls tipping off at 7 p.m. and the boys immediately following. The teams will then host Elbert County Saturday at 7 p.m. (girls) and 8:30 p.m. (boys).
Lady Raider head coach Tim Cook said Jackson County has been impressive this season. And he maintained that his team must improve its play to compete with its tougher opponents this year.
"I'm not real happy with how we're playing," said Cook. "We've not been real consistent yet. Defensively we're playing well, but offensively we haven't been focused."
Cook said his team has been making "mental mistakes," such as not hitting people with passes when they're open.
"We're winning games," said Cook. "But our defense has won most of those games for us."
Raider coach Benjie Wood, who broke his hand last week on an eraserboard during halftime at Prince Avenue, said his team has been making too many mistakes.
"If we play hard, good things happen," said Wood. "We've just got to play smarter. We're committing way too many turnovers."
Wood has shown frustration with his team's play at times this year, but he's found some things to smile about, particularly the play of Jonathan Berrian, who returned to action last Tuesday against Prince Avenue after sitting out most of last year with a serious eye injury. Berrian, who wears an eye patch and protective goggles on the court, helped lift the Raiders to back-to-back victories over the past week.
"I can't say enough about him (Berrian)," said Wood. "He's not played in a year and he realizes what it's like to miss the game. He's brought enthusiasm to us and it's been contagious."
The Lady Raiders managed just one field goal by Brittney Escoe in the first quarter Saturday, but Madison County led Oconee County 10-6 after one period thanks to six free throws by Tawana Moon, who had 15 points, and two by Escoe, who led the team with 18.
The Lady Raiders carried a 29-19 lead into the locker room at halftime as Aiyana Hunter scored seven second-quarter points, along with another six by Escoe and four by Moon.
But Oconee County outscored Madison County 10-6 in the third quarter to pull within six, 35-29, to open the fourth quarter. The Lady Warriors pulled to within four a moment later, 37-33, but Renee Mathews popped a three-pointer with six minutes to go to put her team up by seven. Madison County managed no more field goals in the game, but the Lady Raiders were solid from the charity stripe down the stretch, nailing 15 fourth-quarter free throws - 13 in the last six minutes - en route to the 10-point win.
Complementing the double-digit performances from Escoe and Moon were Hunter, who finished with nine points; Mathews, who had five; Stacie Beard, who added four; and Sheena Mason, who chipped in two.
In boys' action, Madison County jumped on top early, then staved off a late comeback bid by the Warriors for a six-point win. Oconee County, which was without several of its players due to the football playoffs, erased a 27-19 halftime deficit, taking a 45-43 lead late in the third quarter. But Madison County bounced back, carrying a 49-47 lead into the final period, thanks to two late baskets by Chad Youngblood, who led the Raiders with 13 points.
The Raiders upped their lead to six early in the period, but the Warriors scored five unanswered points to make the score 53-52 with about four minutes to go. But Jamaris Mattox, who finished with eight points - all in the second half - helped the Raiders seal the victory with four points in the final three minutes.
Also scoring for Madison County were Chris Lattimore, 12 points; Berrian, 10; Chad Gillespie, eight; Donny Stamper, six; Josh Chandler, six; and Drew Sparks, one.
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