Demonettes, Eagles earn repeat basketball championships

February 20, 2013 

Local teams won both sides of the GHSA Region 2-AAAAA title in dramatically different fashion Saturday at Jones County High School.

The Warner Robins girls trailed by 10 points early in the fourth quarter before rallying to win their third consecutive region title with a 70-59 overtime win over Evans.

CeCe Carroll hit a 3-point shot with 10 seconds left in the game to force overtime. The Demonettes dominated the extra period, with guard Asha Stegall scoring 11 of her game-high 29 points.

In the boys championship game, Northside led by 23 at the start of the fourth quarter but had to withstand a furious Jones County rally before earning a 76-70 victory. The title is the second in a row for Northside, the first time its boys basketball team has ever accomplished that feat.

Justin Burnam scored 19 points to lead the Eagles. He averaged 19.3 points in three tournament games.

Three other county teams from 2-AAAAA qualified for the state tournament, as well. The Warner Robins boys team enters state as a four seed. Northside’s girls and Houston County’s girls will play as three and four seeds, respectively.

Region tourney roundup

GHSA 2-AAAA: The Veterans girls earned their first-ever state tournament appearance with a third-place finish. Perry’s boys also finished third. Mary Persons and Rutland were the girls and boys winners, respectively.

GHSA 2-AAA: Peach County’s girls finished third, and the boys finished fourth. Both advance to the state tournament. The Carver-Columbus boys and Southwest-Macon boys won championships.

GISA 2-AAA: Westfield’s girls finished second, and the boys finished third. Stratford’s boys and the girls of Tattnall Square Academy were champions.

Jackson headed to South Georgia College

Houston County senior Hunter Jackson accepted a scholarship offer to play baseball and continue his education at South Georgia College during a Feb. 12 signing ceremony at the high school.

Jackson made a brief announcement prior to completing the paperwork. He thanked God, his parents, coaches and friends for helping make the day possible. Several of Jackson’s family attended. He said they’re an important part of his life and “helped me make my decision” to attend South Georgia College.

At 6-feet-2-inches tall with room to fill out, Jackson admitted he’ll need to “beef up a little” at the next level. He plans to eat more and stay active in the weight room.

With the loss of Austin Wallace to graduation, Jackson will draw more focus as Houston County’s top starter this year. He seems capable of rising to the challenge. According to head coach Jason Brett, Jackson won five games in 2012 with an ERA of 3.35.

A pitcher through most of his baseball-playing career, Jackson cited professionals Greg Maddux and Cliff Lee as those he tries to emulate. He said he loves pitching.

“You control the game,” he said. “Everything goes off of you.”

The son of Clint Jackson and Wendy Richardson, Jackson plans to study pre-pharmacy in school.

Babbitt signs with MGC

Northside senior Brittani Babbitt accepted a scholarship offer to play softball and continue her education at Middle Georgia College during a Thursday signing ceremony at the high school. To hear her tell it, she didn’t have much choice.

“Fate just laid itself out in front of me,” she said.

Babbitt worked out with the Middle Georgia club in January. When the session ended, MGC coach Ken Phillips met with Babbitt and told her she had a spot if she wanted it. She proved herself immediately popular to those already on the team.

“They thought I was a good spirit,” Babbitt shrugged.

Phillips thinks Babbitt is a good ball player. He’s impressed by her level of comfort in the infield or outfield.

“Wherever I need her is where she’ll play,” Phillips said.

The daughter of Merri and Ronnie, Babbitt said she’s planning to study physical therapy and sports medicine.

Tough sledding for mat men

Local wrestlers combined to win just three bouts at the GHSA state meet last week in Macon. Rex Lower (160 pounds) of Perry and Marquise Franklin (195) of Veterans each went 1-2 in Class AAAA. Diego Smith (220) of Northside finished the same. Eight other local participants lost both of their bouts.

Purvis perfect for GSU

Just days after being named Southern Conference pitcher of the week, Sarah Purvis topped herself. The Northside graduate tossed the first perfect game in Georgia Southern University history, beating Southern Illinois 1-0 at the Florida Gulf Coast University tournament Friday in Fort Myers, Fla. Purvis struck out 11.

Contact Chris Deighan at cdeighan@cox.net.

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