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|SPORTS SECTION - DECEMBER 29, 1999|
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CLASS A STATE FOOTBALL FINAL
Tiger Teams Home For Holiday Tourney
Four Teams To Vie In WJJC Classic Wed., Thurs.
Even though Christmas is over, the holidays will last for a few more days. What better way to celebrate than with a little basketball.
Commerce will serve as the host team for the WJJC Holiday Classic this Wednesday and Thursday.
Banks County's girls will kick off the tournament when they face Oglethorpe County at 4 p.m.
The BCHS boys will play Oglethorpe County immediately following the girls' game.
Commerce and Lakeview pair up in the second games with the girls set to start at approximately 7 p.m. The boys will follow the girls' game.
Consolation and championship games will be played Thursday, starting at 4 p.m.
The tournament features several teams that will or have played each other this season outside of the two-day event.
Commerce's girls opened their season on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving with a win over Lakeview Academy. The Lady Tigers will meet Lakeview again Jan. 15 in Commerce.
Banks County opened its regular season with a sweep of Oglethorpe County. Banks County is also in the same subregion as Lakeview. Those two teams will kick off the 2000 season Jan. 4 in Homer.
Commerce and Banks County would have met Dec. 3 in Homer, but the Tigers' success in the football playoffs postponed the game until Jan. 29. The teams will meet in Commerce Jan. 22.
Commerce's boys' team picked up an early present for the holidays last week with a 45-43 win over Athens Academy in the Spartan Invitational championship game.
Commerce continued to be plagued with five players sidelined and out of uniform.
Daniel Carder helped propel the Tigers to the victory with 22 points.
Michael Collins added 11 points for Commerce.
The Tigers improved to 3-0 on the season with the win over the host Spartans.
Commerce advanced to the championship game by downing Prince Avenue 78-69 in the first-round game.
Madison County's boys took third place by beating Prince Avenue 70-45 in the consolation game.
The Lady Tigers claimed third place by also beating host Athens Academy 43-36.
The Lady Spartans held an 18-17 edge at halftime, but Commerce outscored Athens Academy 26-18 in the final two quarters to take the win.
Three Commerce girls finished the game with double figures in scoring. Monique Diamond led the way with 15 points. Shemika Reed had 13 points, while Charlene Gaither had 10 points.
Sheka Wheeler led the team with 10 rebounds. Reed also had seven rebounds and five assists.
Commerce dropped its first game of the season 47-36 in the first-round game.
Oconee County outscored the Lady Tigers 24-14 in the second half to win the game.
Madison County's girls beat Oconee County for the second time this season in the championship game 37-32.
Ashley Myers led the Red Raiders with 11 points.
CHS Wrestlers Open
With Team Tournaments
Commerce High School's wrestling team scored 95 points in its first team tournament of the season.
Competing in the Duckhead Invitational at Winder-Barrow High School, the Mat Tigers were led by two second-place finishes.
John Martin (275 pounds) and Wes Smith (145) were each runners-up in their respective weight classes.
Lee Sorrow (135) took fourth place.
Blake Milford (119) and Adam Perry (160) each claimed fifth place in their weight divisions.
Commerce High School's wrestling team competed in the Keen Classic at Jefferson High School this week.
The event opened with five dual matches on Tuesday.
A traditional individual tournament followed on Tuesday.
Eight Class A teams competed in the event: Adairsville, Armuchee, Buford, Calhoun, Commerce, Dawson County, Jefferson and Oglethorpe County.
Results from the first day of action were not available by presstime.
This is the third annual Keen Classic tournament.
Four Leopards named to All-Area Team
After posting an 0-10 season in 1998, the Banks County High School football team rebounded with a 4-6 mark and a 3-5 record in Region 8-A.
The Leopards opened the season at home with an overtime victory over Jackson County. Banks County ended the season with another overtime victory at Jefferson and a season-ending win at Union County.
The team's success this year bodes well for new things to come from first-year head coach Rance Gillespie.
Four Leopard players earned spots on the MainStreet Newspapers' All-Area team as well.
Senior Blakley Crumley and juniors Mike Ivey, Drew Gowder and Hank Jones were all tapped for the honor.
Course, BCHS team
lay down seeds for future
BY DREW BRANTLEY
The best sports Banks County had to offer featured open skies, rolling hills, flowing water and plenty of birdies.
Golf led the way this year, with the opening of Scales Creek Country club and the second region championship in a row for the Banks County High School golf team.
With Scales Creek's grand opening and the team's performance in the state tournament coming on the same day, it is easier to link their success.
The golf team earned sixth place at the state meet in Donalsonville.
Jason Sparks and Brandon Brown led the way for Banks County. Each shot a 74. Michael Brown added an 82. John Rylee rounded out the best BCHS scores with an 84. Kenny Wilson also shot an 89. Freshman Drew Sparks wore a brace on the wrist he broke during spring break to play at state. He shot a 94.
Only five teams had a better score than Banks County's 314. Savannah Christian won the match with a team score of one-under par 287.
Savannah Country Day was second with a 306. Brookstone was third with a 309. Calhoun and Lovett tied for fourth with a score of 311. Savannah Christian's Tripp Coggins had the low round with a 67, shooting a 31 on the back nine.
Banks County's boys closed out the season with another trip to state after consecutive Region 8-A titles. Last year the Leopards tied for eighth place at state.
"To win region two years in a row is something," Banks County coach Bobby Morris said. "That's a good way for our seniors (Michael Brown, John Rylee and Kenny Wilson) to finish up."
The Sparkses and B. Brown will all return for next year.
The Scales Creek Country Club course, which was designed by PGA golfer Mark McCumber's golf course architectural group, held its grand opening that same Monday to officially usher in the transformation of the land.
Family members were joined by those who created the new look of the land and those who were eager to test out the newest bounty.
The 18-hole course makes the most of the way the land formed, McCumber said.
"Great courses are not built by architects," McCumber said. "Well, they are. They're just built by the greatest architect. Nature did a wonderful job before we ever started. This course has the three things that a course needs. It's got topographical relief with rolling hills, natural water streams and beautiful trees."
McCumber and the Scaleses were careful to keep some evidence on the course of the history of the land. The 10th fairway, which follows the road leading to the country club, bears the chimney of a family house that burned several years ago.
"I think that (the history) adds to this course," McCumber said. "We try to keep some things about that. As far as the chimney on number 10, we situated the tee on that hole so that its an aiming point. I think that kind of thing adds to what makes this course special."
The course opened for business for Thanksgiving 1998 and has steadily picked up business, primarily from the surrounding counties.
"Right now, we're getting players from the counties that touch Banks County," course pro Chris Black said. "We're about to start some marketing to get some players in from Gwinnett County and north Fulton. We're easy to get to right up I-85."
The course also has plans to have some residential development with several already under way. A new clubhouse is also on the drawing board for a hill above the present one.
While the course is in playing shape, it will take some time to be in optimum condition.
"Every course takes some time to mature," McCumber said. "But I think this one may get there a little faster than others. Just the way it has come along in just six months is incredible."
Scales Creek is located about two miles outside of Homer on U.S. 441. The course has memberships and is open daily to the public.
USA Wrestling kicks off big week at JHS
Dragons limp out of Duckhead ninth
BY TIM THOMAS
JEFFERSON'S USA Wrestling Club kicked off three days filled with action Monday by hosting a USA tournament. Individual re-sults were not available at press time, but it was estimated that more than 200 wrestlers participated, including several national medal-winners.
The Keen Classic got under way Tuesday, as the host Dragons won day one of the competition. Jefferson earned 196 points in the dual-match portion, but rival Commerce was hot on their tail with 163. The Tigers have only been practicing for about a week, due to football playoffs. As of Wednesday morning, both teams had several wrestlers in the semifinals of the individual tournament, with Jefferson having a slight edge. The final outcome may not be decided until the final round.
After day one, Social Circle stood in third at 120, followed by ninth-ranked Armuchee, sixth-ranked Dawson County, Ogle-thorpe County, Adairsville and Buford.
At Monday's USA tournament, Pepsico CEO Pat Williamson was honored for his support of the Jefferson wrestling program. Williamson donated a substantial amount of money for the renovation of Jefferson's wrestling room, and annually gives $5,000 to fund the Keen Classic.
Williamson was on both the wrestling and track teams at Jefferson during the first three years of coach Jack Keen's tenure at the school.
Keen was surprised with a banquet in his honor Tuesday evening, during which he was presented with the Crystal Eagle, an award that is very meaningful in the Pepsico organization. A letter of appreciation from Williamson was read, and several speakers took their turns at the microphone, including wrestling guru and family friend Dr. John Raber, JHS alumni Gary Glenn and Doug Thurmond, and school superintendent Dr. John Jackson.
A large number of former students and athletes were on hand to wish Keen well in his retirement from coaching, as well as to show their appreciation for his work.
Dragon wrestlers overcame serious hardship last week to finish a respectable ninth in the Duckhead Southeast Invitational at Winder-Barrow High School.
Eight of Jefferson's 14 starters were missing for various reasons, and three of those eight weight classes could not be filled. Still, Keen's Dragons managed 99.5 points. Finishing ahead of Jefferson were several wrestling powerhouses - Grissom, Wood-ward Academy and Westminster to name a few.
Steve Green continued to dominate the 171-pound weight class, scoring 30 team points while earning his third gold medal of the season. Jeremy Smith finished fourth at 130, Eric Wilburn fifth at 135 and Hunter Garner fifth at 140.
Jeremiah Wilson, Brian Ferguson, Zach Evans and Brendon Kemp all won matches and scored points for the Dragons.
Also participating in the tournament for Jefferson were Joel Thrasher, Ricky Waters and David Boring.
The Dragons will travel to Dawsonville to participate in the Amicalola Classic this weekend.
Dragons to resume
with stiff competition
BY TIM THOMAS
Jefferson basketball teams will resume their season next week with key sub-region matchups against Buford and Commerce. Buford's second-ranked girls feature University of Georgia signee Christi Thomas, regarded as the top center in the state. The Commerce boys, with Michael Collins, are considered to be among the top 10 teams in class A.
The Lady Dragons have established themselves as a contender in the sub-region race, with a 3-0 record against sub-region opponents. Kevin Jacobs' team has lost only twice this season, both times in tournaments and both times to AAAA teams. Thomas and her Buford team will likely present the greatest class A challenge to the Lady Dragons this season, followed by region 7-A Paideia a week later.
The road will not get any easier for the Lady Dragons after that, as they play five sub-region games in a two-week stretch.
Since region 8-A was split into sub-regions earlier in the year, the top two finishers in February's sub-region tournaments will move on to the state playoffs. Regular-season sub-region records are used to determine the tournament seeds.
The situation is a bit different for coach Bolling DuBose's boys. The Dragons started with convincing wins over Wesleyan and Banks County, but ran into some tough competition against Providence and fifth-ranked Greater Atlanta Christian. The team has struggled to maintain leads late, though they seemed to rebound a bit in the Gold City Shootout two weeks ago, where they finished third.
Commerce will come to Jefferson next Friday, having had a month to recover from football season. The game looks to be a fast-paced, high-scoring affair, with the Dragons trying to slow down the highly touted Collins.
Panthers to see familiar faces after tournament
BY TIM THOMAS
Three weeks is not a long time, but in high school sports, three weeks can determine the outcome of a season. Such is the case for the Jackson County Panthers. Beginning next Friday, the Panthers will play nine games in 22 days.
Jackson County is currently participating in the Dairy Queen Classic at Hart County High School. The Lady Panthers defeated McBee, S.C. 61-50 Tuesday to move into the semifinals. The outcome of the boys' game was unavailable at press time. The tournament finals will be held Thursday, with fifth-place games beginning at noon, third-place games at 3 p.m., and the championship games will be held at 6 and 7:30 p.m.
Next week, the Panthers will be targets for revenge, with Dacula, Athens Academy and Oconee County all looking to turn the tables after being swept by Jackson County earlier. New opponent Stephens County is also in the mix.
Beyond that, the Panthers face a tough road with North Hall, North Gwinnett, Habersham Central and Hart County. All of Jackson County's four losses thus far have been to those teams.
The matchup at North Gwinnett should prove to be the toughest. The Bulldogs are among the top 10 AAA teams in the state, and the Lady Bulldogs are ranked second. North Gwinnett's boys beat Jackson County 78-57 in the season opener, but the Lady Panthers were close to an upset in their 61-58 loss.
Win over McBee
In the tournament opener against McBee, a small but vocal contingent of fans cheered the Lady Panthers to victory. Annette Watts' girls jumped out to a 10-2 lead early, with Monic Stewart pulling in a number of defensive rebounds. McBee fought back to within one after the first period.
The second was close all the way, as McBee got several second and third chances at the basket. Jackson County led 31-26 at the half.
The Lady Panthers took control in the third, as McBee struggled from the field. Jackson County took a 10-point lead going in to the fourth.
Krystal Britt ripped the ball right out of an opponent's hands early in the fourth, and rushed to the Jackson County basket before dishing off to a teammate at the last minute for an easy layup. Stewart was hot again under the defensive boards, and Carly Parr took a steal the distance of the court for an easy two points.
After missing a free throw late in the game, Britt made a nice move, circling the players who were fighting for the rebound. After April Cantrell made a tough shot from the crowd, Britt grabbed the ball and scored an easy basket.
Williams, Parr soared
above the crowd
BY TIM THOMAS
Jackson County's Carly Parr and Commerce's Monté Williams have been chosen as The Jackson Herald athletes of the year.
Williams, a three-sport star, was named the best football player in the state by Georgia sportswriters. During an extremely successful season for the Tigers, Williams rushed for 2,301 yards and 30 touchdowns. The Commerce junior needs just over 1,500 yards to tie the state career rushing mark.
In addition to his football exploits, Williams was the region 8-A long-jump champion, and finished sixth in the state. He is also a member of the CHS basketball team.
Parr is a four-sport star. She earned Jackson County's first state championship in two years, sprinting the backstretch to win the 3200-meter title in class AAA. Parr likely would have won the 1600-meter championship as well, but the two races were scheduled on the same day due to bad weather. She finished third, behind two runners who had not competed in the earlier race. Parr's times in both races were new personal bests, as well as new school records.
Parr finished third in the region 8-AAA cross country meet, after participating for only a portion of the season due to softball commitments. Parr handled most of the pitching duties for the Lady Panthers as they finished with the best regular-season record in region 8-AAA.
Ryan Hybl captures state title, plays in pro
Madison County's Ryan Hybl, one of the world's top young golfers, continued to rack up the trophy hardware this year, firing a 69 at Dalton Country Club in May to win the Class AAA state title, helping lead his team to a 322 seventh-place finish. A junior during last season's play, Hybl also fired a 71 to help his squad qualify for the state tournament with a second-place team finish with a 315 in the Region 8-AAA tournament.
Hybl, who will attend Georgia on a golf scholarship, also participated in the Greater Hartford Open in Connecticut in July, posting a 141 (72-69) total, missing the cut by just two strokes. The Madison County standout earned a chance to play in that tournament by being named the "Co-player of the Year" by the American Junior Golf Association last year.
Softball team posts 24-8 mark
The Madison County fast-pitch softball team posted a 24-8 mark this year but was unable to advance to the state tournament after losses to Dacula and North Gwinnett in the area tournament. Tawana Moon was named the team's Most Valuable Player, earning a spot on the all-state first team. Renee Mathews, who had the highest batting average on the team, was named to the all-state second team.
Baseball team finishes at 18-9
The Madison County baseball team, the state runner-up in 1998, finished its 1999 season at 18-9 after being knocked out of the region tournament with losses to Newton and Central Gwinnett.
Raiders finish 2-8, move to non-region schedule
Madison County finished its football season with its second straight 2-8 mark, winning games over Jackson County and North Hall. After the season, coach Tom Hybl announced that the Raiders will play a non-region schedule next year, a move aimed at making Madison County more competitive and encouraging more guys to try out for the team. The 2000 schedule must be finalized by Jan. 15.
Mathews, Beard capture second straight region
Renee Mathews and Stacie Beard captured their second straight Region 8-AAA doubles title in girls' tennis. The Lady Raiders advanced to their second straight state tournament with a second-place finish in the region tournament. The squad lost 5-0 in the first round of the state tournament to Class AAA powerhouse Marist. The boys' tennis team posted a 7-3 regular season record but failed to advance to the state tournament, losing to Central Gwinnett in the region tournament.
Girls' basketball team finishes at 13-12
The Lady Raider basketball team finished its 1998-99 season at 13-12, losing to Newton in the second round of the Region 8-AAA tournament. This year's team started the season on a strong note, posting a 10-2 mark before Christmas break. Team standout Tawana Moon also scored her 1,000th career point in a Christmas tournament in Athens.
Three Raider wrestlers qualify for state tourney
Three Madison County wrestlers - Gary Evans, Adam Thompson and Justin Shanken - qualified for the state tournament with top four finishes in the 11-team area tournament.
Shanken finished third in the 135-lb. weight class, while Evans, 160 lbs., and Thompson, 130 lbs., finished fourth in their weight classes.
Wood named new Raider coach
Benjie Wood was named the new Madison County varsity boys' basketball coach this year after Kenny Walker resigned following a 6-18 season.
Boys' soccer team posts winning record
The Madison County boys' soccer team overcame a late 2-0 deficit against Dacula to grab a 3-2 double-overtime win, a season-ending victory that secured a winning 8-7 record for the Raiders. The varsity girls' soccer team ended the season with a 5-8-1 record.
Hunter qualifies for state
Aiyana Hunter qualified for the state track tournament with a second-place finish in the Region 8-AAA 800-meter race. Tawana Moon placed third in the region in the shot put. Lauren Adams was fourth in the region in the 300-meter hurdles. On the boys' side, Jamie Sims placed fourth in the region in the shotput.
Volleyball team wins 12 matchES
The Madison County volleyball team finished its 1999 season with a 12-14 record.
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