Bryce Blake

Bryce Blake attempts a slam dunk during a recent Jackson County basketball game.

All year, the Jackson County head coach Bryan Parker yearned for a complete game from his squad. That game couldn’t have come at a better time than Friday (Jan. 7) at Clarke Central.

Behind Isaiah Maxey’s first quarter three-point parade, the Panthers stayed ahead of Clarke Central for most of the night and held on late to win 62-58.

“We played really well,” Parker said. “I would say we were up by 10 points for about 90-percent of the game. We finally played a complete game… finally played a four-quarter game on Friday and got some good results from it.

“I firmly believe that when our guys play like they’re capable of that we can compete and beat almost anybody in our region. We have to do a lot of things right, but we can definitely compete and steal some [playoff] spots from people that feel like we don’t have the chance.”

Maxey hit four three-points in the first quarter to lead Jackson County (3-11, 1-3 Region 8-AAAAA) to an early 20-13 lead. He finished the game with 16 points.

“That gave us the momentum we needed to carry us throughout the game,” Parker said. “It was good to see him step up and hit some shots, but it was good for our guys to have a little positivity at the beginning of a game.”

By halftime, the Panthers lead 35-25 and they maintained a double-digit lead until late in the fourth quarter.

Clarke Central mounted a comeback that saw it take a one-point lead with 35 seconds left, but Jackson County didn’t stay down long. Bryce Blake drew a foul and drained two free throws on the Panthers’ ensuing possession to regain the lead. Jackson County pulled away in the final seconds to win 62-58.

Blake finished with another double-double. He finished with 20 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks. Despite his lack of size, Riley Baugh was a force on defense, especially near the glass. He grabbed 15 rebounds and blocked four shots, all on top of a 14-point night on offense.

“For his size and lack of weight, [Baugh] was a huge part of our success,” he said. “He put himself in a position to get a bunch of rebounds. I think at halftime he had about 10 and that was a huge part of our success. We were really aggressive defensively and Riley was a big part of that.”

Jackson County looks for more region success this week. The Panthers host Loganville (5-8, 1-3 Region 8-AAAAA) on Tuesday (Jan. 11) before hosting Johnson (1-13, 0-4 Region 8-AAAAA) on Friday (Jan. 14).

“This is a big week for us, that’s for sure,” he said. “We need to take care of business and continue to move forward.”


Jackson County concluded non-region play with a 78-42 loss to Mountain View on Saturday (Jan. 8). Isaiah Maxey led the team with 12 points and Charlie Fox added nine points.

“We played them earlier in the season and schedule them for a reason,” Parker said. “We’re trending towards being that size of a school anyways so I wanted us to start playing some Gwinnett County teams and bigger schools.

“They smoked us the first time by 53 points. I think we were shellshocked… Coming off of a big game on Friday, going into a non-region game against a really good team, we kind of didn’t bring the energy we needed to.”


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