On Jan. 5, the Spalding High Jaguars basketball team got the party started early in the new year with a 67-41 blitzing of Mary Persons High. DeAndre Sims scored 17 points and Jon Garland and Terrell Love added 13 points and 6 rebounds each in the victory. Spalding led 20-4 after the first period and coasted from there.
Griffin High’s Aneesah Head and Shatabeya Miller combined to sink four free throws in the waning seconds of the fourth period to give the Lady Bears a 42-39 victory over the turnover-prone North Clayton Lady Eagles on Jan. 12 at The House. North Clayton led 39-38 with a minute left in regulation, but consecutive turnovers led to the Griffin free throws with seconds left to ice the game.
Five was also a good number for the Griffin Christian boys and girls basketball teams. On Jan. 12, the Lady Crusaders snapped their five-game losing streak with a dominating 46-13 win over Grace Christian Academy on the road. Caroline Smith scored 20 points and grabbed 16 rebounds and Leyah Brown added 14 points and 10 steals for GCHS.
That same day, the Crusaders won their fifth game in a row, beating Grace Christian’s boys 76-58 behind 21 points from Anthony Lewis, 11 points from Matthew Hammond and 10 points from Elias Seise. Lewis had 7 assists and 3 steals in that game.
Despite 25 points from guard Cody Dutton, the Faith Christian Academy Lions lost to Heritage Christian 67-41 at home on Jan. 14. Adam Toluba chipped in 10 and Joe Mays had 6 to complete the Lions’ scoring.
Another big effort in a home loss came from Skipstone Academy’s Dustin Barnett on Jan. 15. Barnett scored 40 points in a 145-108 loss to Victory Christian of Conyers. The 108 points would be the most points Skipstone would score all season long.
The good news in January wasn’t all focused on basketball. The 2009 Griffin Bears football team was rewarded for its second consecutive state final four season with 15 players named to the All-Region 4-AAAA team on Jan. 19.
Bears quarterback Marcus Waller was named Region Offensive Player of the Year and DE Xzavier Dickson was named Region Defensive Player of the Year. They were joined on the first team by RB s Buck Hancock and D.J. Morgan, ATH Denarius Appling, TE Ty Turner, DL s Brandon Williamson, Kent Yarbrough, and Walter Forts, LB Cartavious Woods and DB Dontre Morris.
Second-teamers were LB Corinthian James and DB Chandler Worthy and offensive linemen Demetrius Williams and Blake Durden were honorable mention.
On the court, the Spalding Lady Jags basketball team had an impressive 55-49 win over the Rutland Lady Hurricanes Jan. 19 at home. It was the Lady Jags’ seventh straight win and the first time Spalding had beaten Rutland in five tries, dating back to the 2008-09 season. Dee Dee Matthews led Spalding with 21 points and 7 rebounds and Shakeva Richards added 19 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks.
On Jan. 20, the Griffin Bears broke a three-game losing streak with a 54-53 win over the Ola Mustangs on the road, thanks to a trey from J.R. Ellis with 2.4 seconds left in the game. Ty Turner had a double-double in the contest, scoring 11 points and snagging 10 boards.
That same day, the Griffin Lady Bears won their game against Ola’s girls at the buzzer. Otisha Perkins got a tipped pass and raced down court for a layup to give Griffin a 42-40 win. Four days earlier, Jahmiya Clemons’ trey at the buzzer gave Griffin a win over Jonesboro.
In the game of the year, the Spalding Jaguars basketball team defeated the South Atlanta Hornets 72-67 on Jan. 23, handing the Hornets their first regular season loss to a Georgia high school team in three years. DeAndre Sims scored 19 points in the game, which came down to the wire. A basket by Terrell Love gave Spalding a 68-67 lead with 33 seconds left and after two misses by South Atlanta, Spalding’s Rodney Gilbert and Chris Mayes sank two free throws each for the final score.
Also on that day, the Lady Jags whipped South Atlanta 73-27 for its 9th straight win.
On Jan. 26, Jackson-Atlanta defeated the Lady Jags 50-37, ending their win streak at 9 games. Spalding missed all 11 of its 3-point attempts in that game.
Also on that day, Griffin Christian’s Anthony Lewis made a buzzer-beating layup to give the Crusaders a 65-64 win over the LaGrange Academy Warriors on the road. Lewis finished with 22 points, 3 steals and 6 assists and he was aided by Lee Neidert’s 18 points and Elias Seise’s 15 points and 11 rebounds.
In other basketball action that day, Griffin Bears and the Spalding Jags both won to sweep the regular-season series from their opponents. The Bears beat Ola 44-41 at home thanks to 14 points from Jahmad Clemons and 11 from Denarius Appling; the Jags beat Jackson-Atlanta 58-48, thanks to three players in double figures, notably DeAndre Sims with 20 points and 14 rebounds.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a 13-part series recapping the 2010 year in sports locally. The month-by-month review will conclude with the top stories of the year on Jan. 1, 2011.