The Banks County High School Leopards Basketball team commanded the court last Tuesday with their first region win of the season against the East Jackson Eagles with a score of 78-56. They are now 11-5 this season overall and 1-0 in the region.
The team leapt onto the court after the girls’ basketball game and honored Banks County’s basketball alumni to take on their new region rival at home. Both Banks County and East Jackson supporters populated the stands with their hometown zeal in tow as they wore their school colors with pride. Students had a couple more days of winter break left, but that didn’t stop a few from swinging by the school to cheer on their peers in the student section, joined by members of the Lady Leopards Basketball team, who wanted to see their brother team have their first region win.
The tip off began with an advantage for the Leopards, followed by their first successful two-pointer of the game by Luke Dale. The first quarter ended with an eight-point lead for the Leopards with 25-17. A substantial gap in points wasn’t established yet, but the Leopards were just getting started.
In an impressive display of rebounds, steals, and shots, the Leopards gained an even larger lead in the second quarter with 44-26. As the buzzer for halftime sounded, they retreated to the locker room for a short break, relishing their success on the court but knowing that the job wasn’t finished yet.
Despite the break in momentum, the Leopards widened the gap in points even more in the third quarter with a score of 59-37. However, a break had to be allowed on the court as an East Jackson player was injured. Players from both sides and the cheerleaders took a knee as a sign of respect for the player as he was carried off of the court to the sound of applause from both sides of the stands.
The fourth quarter cemented the win for the Leopards as they gained 19 more points to match East Jackson’s 19 point increase. Carson Todd made the last point of the night for the Leopards with a successful three-point shot with less than 30 seconds left on the game clock. As the clock ticked down, the Leopards on the court brought their hustle to a near standstill until the time ran out. As the buzzer sounded, the Leopards left the court with their first region win under their belts.
Luke Dale was the biggest point-maker of the night with 24 points total, including four successful three-pointers. Aaron Scott followed close behind with 19 points total. Kolby Watson, Hunter Youngblood, Mason Adams, Cooper Todd, Carson Todd, Cade White, Antonio Gonzalez, Dayden Rogers, and Caden Watson also contributed in points.
Scott was also the leader in two-point shots with nine successful attempts, two of which were dunks that sent the Banks County crowd into a frenzy. Dale was the leader in three-point shots, followed by Youngblood with two, and Adams, Kolby Watson, Cooper Todd, and Carson Todd with one each.
Scott also led the team on defense with a remarkable number of rebounds and steals that turned the game to the Leopards’ favor. White and Adams also contributed heavily with defensive and offensive rebounds, steals, and blocks.
Next week, the Leopards Basketball team will be traveling to Blairsville on Tuesday, Jan. 10, to go against the Union County Panthers in their second region matchup this season. The Union County game is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. On Friday, Jan. 13, they will compete against the Athens Academy Spartans at home for their third region game at 8:30 p.m.
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