DAHLONEGA – For the fifth consecutive year, the No. 1 University of North Georgia softball team claimed the Peach Belt Conference Tournament Championship Saturday with a 4-0 win over Columbus State at Haines & Carolyn Hill Stadium. Earlier in the day, the Nighthawks broke the program’s single season wins record with a five inning 8-0 win over Lander in the semifinals.
Sprague walked the game off in the fifth with a two-run bomb to deep center to push the Nighthawks to their 10th PBC Championship game.
Kylee Smith (30-1) threw her second one-hitter of the day and struck out nine batters to push the Nighthawks to their fifth consecutive conference tournament championship.
– The Nighthawks break the conference record for consecutive tournament championships that Kennesaw State held from 1995-98.
– Smith, Hammontree and Sprague were named to the All-Tournament team, while Sprague was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
– The Nighthawks are now 8-2 all-time in PBC Tournament championship games and have still never lost in the league’s tournament when holding the top seed.
The White County Warriors had an impressive 2017 football season. Coming off an abismal 1-9 season in 2016, the Warriors came out swinging and scored some big wins early in 2017; defeating Franklin (33-0), Lumpkin (66-14) and Habersham Central (24-21) before dropping a tough loss to Rabun County (49-26).
The Warriors came back the following week and knocked down North Hall (28-18), who’s only other loss to a AAAA power came in the final seconds against Pickens County (42-35) where the Trojans marched down the field and came up just short as time expired.
In 2018, the Warriors will once again have an exciting schedule to kick off the season, and there’s no doubt they’ll be looking to duplicate and even improve upon their 7-4, 2-2 season from last year.
With games at Lumpkin County and then home against Habersham Central, the Warriors kick the season off much like they did in 2017. However, put a big red circle around the Sept 7 game at Pickens County, where PHS head coach Chris Parker is likely reloading rather than rebuilding this season. The game pits two quality AAAA programs against each other in non-region play, with White representing Region 7-AAAA and Pickens representing Region 6-AAAA. Both teams were eliminated early in post-season play last year, but both teams proved to be fearsome opponents on the gridiron regardless of home/away.
After the Pickens game, the Warriors schedule doesn’t let up.
The Warriors enjoyed a 10-pt victory over North Hall last season, but the Trojans played much better football as the season continued, and was the #TeamFYNSports Most Improved Team in Region 7-AAA last season. The Warriors will look to defeat the Trojans (9/14), before taking the drive over to Marist for their first game in region play. Marist, as the whole world is aware, is the defending region champion in Region 6. What’s interesting about Marist is although they won their region, defeating rival Blessed Trinity 25-24 early in the season. Two months later, the two teams met again in the State Championship and Blessed Trinity defeated the War Eagles 16-7. Undoubtedly, Marist will look to return to the final in 2018, but they will have to go through White County first.
Perhaps the best part of the Warriors’ schedule this year is the break between facing Marist (9/21) and Blessed Trinity (11/2), although the Warriors will need to defeat Flowery Branch, West Hall, Denmark and Chestatee during the interim.
How will the 2018 season fare for the Warriors of White County? It’s too early to tell. Rest assured the team will be preparing accordingly and TeamFYNSports looks forward to reporting on the 2018 season from the sidelines this fall.
Friday Dec. 29, the panthers looked to finish off day 3 of the Battle of the States tournament. Both teams were 1-1 and were playing for 3rd place. Both were playing towns. The lady panthers dominated all assets of the game.
The lady Indians were missing star freshman forward Kennedi Henson and the lady panthers capitalized early and often as the panthers out rebounded the lady Indians 16-6 in the first half. The score was 13-8 at the end of Q1.
The lead grew of the course of Q2 at the half the score was 24-13 as sophomore guard Brooke Dockrey led the team with 8 points. At the end of Q3 38-22. Union ended the game with a final score of 52-33 at sophomore guard Brooke Dockrey had 16 and senior guard Bailey Daniel had 14.
Union out rebounded the lady Indians 28-12 as The lady panthers finished 3 and had one all tournament selection which was Bailey Daniel. The lady panthers are currently ranked 11th in AAA and host the #14 lady Vikings Jan. 2nd @ 6.
The Murphy Lady Bulldogs can play, folks. They opened the Battle of the States tournament at Towns County High School against a quality opponent, the Lumpkin County Lady Indians. Lumpkin (4-4, 1-1) was coming off a big 51-24 win at home against Mt Zion, after a tough 2-pt loss at Gilmer. Lumpkin’s biggest win of the season so far was against region rival Dawson County (46-39). The fact of the matter is – Lumpkin County is no push-over.
All that being said, Murphy’s varsity girls (6-1, 1-0) may carry the most talented roster TeamFYNSports has seen step onto a basketball court.
Nine different Lady Dawgs scored in the game, as Murphy head coach Ray Gutierrez worked to spread the playing time among his elite corps of hoopsters. Murphy senior Jessica Beckner was easily the TeamFYNSports player of the game, as she scored 24 points with 9 field goals and she went 6-of-7 from the free throw line.
Junior Ellie Martin, one of three Lady Dawgs to hit shots from beyond the perimeter, was the second-leading scorer with 12 points, two of her baskets coming from outside the arch.
Juniors Aubrey Clapsaddle and Bri Moore each scored 8 points in the game, followed by sophomore Sydni Addison and senior Hailey Thompson with 7 points each. Freshman Kaiya Pickens scored 6 points in the game. Senior Brittin Johnson and freshman Sarah Pulliam each scored 2 points for Murphy, respectively.
The first quarter was all Murphy – scoring 21 points and holding Lumpkin to only two points of offense, both points coming by way of free throws made by Raven Chester of the Lady Indians. With a 21-2 first quarter, most expected this game to be over before it even began.
However, the Lady Indians’ offense came alive in the 2nd quarter, ignited behind the effort by Karlee Armstrong, who hit two 3’s and a field goal to put up 8 of Lumpkin’s 18 points. Makenzie Caldwell hit a three-pointer and Clara White put up six points in the effort as Lumpkin fought to challenge Murphy’s dominant start.
Murphy’s offense was as consistent and accurate in the 2nd as it was in the 1st quarter, despite the offensive push-back by Lumpkin County. The Lady Dawgs put up 21 points (again) and led 42-20 going into the locker room at halftime.
Throughout the second half, both teams saw surges in which Murphy would increase their lead, followed by Lumpkin patiently chopping away at it. Ultimately, the margin would prove too great for the Lady Indians to overcome.
Murphy won the game by a final score of 76-55, advancing to face Union County in the second round, Thursday afternoon. Lumpkin’s varsity girls moved to the other side of the bracket, facing Darlington (GA) Thursday morning.