EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a 13-part series recapping the 2008 year in sports locally. The month-by-month review will conclude with the top stories of the year on Jan. 1, 2009.
As the calendar turned to January we were treated to a show on the gridiron before basketball took center stage.
On Jan. 1, the Georgia Bulldogs put a hurtin’, 41-10, on previously undefeated Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl to eventually end the season ranked No. 3.
On Jan. 4, Shakeva Richards scored 24 points and Shay Williams added 15 as the Spalding High girls basketball team ran its win streak to six games with a 58-53 win at West Laurens. The same night, Kristian Williams and Tedra Alford scored 18 each and Annesah Head grabbed 13 rebounds as the Griffin High girls basketball team broke a two-game losing streak with a 57-51 win at Riverdale.
On Jan. 5, Aramis Jester had 17 points and 16 rebounds as the Spalding High boys basketball team stayed perfect in Region 4-AAA Div. A with a 63-47 road win at Jackson. The same night the Griffin High basketball team swept Lovejoy on the road, the Bears winning 60-51 and Lady bears winning 55-38 behind a season-high 21 points from Kristian Williams and 15 points from Tedra Alford.
On Jan. 7, Matt Flynn fired four touchdown passes to lead LSU past Ohio State 38-24 and to the national championship in the BCS title game in New Orleans.
On Jan. 8, Shakeva Richards scored 15 points, all in the second half, to lead the Spalding High girls team to a 42-33 home win against Central Macon. In the late game, the Spalding boys fell to defending region champion Central Macon, 65-61, despite a career-high 29 points by Aramis Jester and 15 from his cousin Willie Hamm.
The same night, Tedra Alford scored 9 and Oneshia Ogletree scored 8 to lead the Griffin High girls team past Forest Park 35-29 in Region 4-AAAA Div. A road game. In the late game at Forest Park, the Reggie Dewberry scored 18 points, Darrin Hancock scored 14 and Terrell Love scored 12 to lead the Bears to a 63-57 win and their first win streak of the season.
On Jan. 10, it became official that Griffin and Spalding High’s varsity football teams would meet on the gridiron - 7:30 p.m., Sept. 5 - for the first time since 1952 when Upson-Lee’s last-ditch attempt to move into Griffin’s region was denied by the Georgia High School Association.
On Jan. 11, Tedra Alford scored a team-high 16 points to lead the Griffin High girls basketball team to its fourth consecutive subregion victory, 52-41, at The House against Mt. Zion-Jonesboro. In the late game, the Bears ran their win streak, the first of the season, to three games with a 53-46 win against Mt. Zion-Jonesboro as Shaq Barber scored 12 points and Tank Sessions grabbed 11 rebounds at The House.
On Jan. 14, the Atlanta Falcons hired 40-year-old New England Patriots General Manager, Tom Dimitroff, in the same capacity. Later the same day the Spalding High wrestling team ups its unbeaten streak to 14 matches with a victory at Riverdale.
On Jan. 15, four players -Willie Hamm, Aramis Jester, C.J. Curry and Rodney Gilbert - scored in double figures as the Spalding High boys basketball team defeated Mary Persons, previously undefeated in subregion play, 54-51 to move into first place in Region 4-AAA Div. A.
On Jan. 18, Shaq Barber scored 17 points, Tan Sessions added 10 more and Terrell Love blocked 5 shots as the Griffin High boys team topped visiting North Clayton 68-56 to sweep the season series. In the early game, the Lady Bears also came out ahead, 55-52, as Kristian Williams hit for 19 and Tedra Alford and Tekeriya Greer added 9 each.
The same night, Shakeva Richards scored 22 points and Shay Williams added 16 and Elem Ibiam chipped in with 10 as the Spalding High girls team broke a three-game losing streak with a 61-54 win at Henry County. In the late game, Aramis Jester scored 20 points and grabbed 20 rebounds while Darius Ross added a career-high 16 to lead the Spalding High boys team to a 72-61 win at Henry County to stay in a tie for first place in the subregion
On Jan. 20, the New England Patriots beat the San Diego Chargers 21-12 in the AFC title game and the New York Giants beat the Green by Packers 23-20 in overtime to reach the Super Bowl.
On Jan. 22, Shay Williams scored a season-high 25 points and had 6 steals and 2 assists as the Spalding High girls basketball team defeated Ola 51-49 on the road. IN the late game the Jags easily won, 51-29, to sweep the season series and remain in a two-way tie for first.
Earlier in the day, Region 4-AAAnamed its all-region football team. Those from Spalding who made the first-team included: Offensive lineman Jared Hernandez, tight end Marcus Duvall, defensive lineman Darrell James, linebacker Bernard Goodrum and defensive back Willie Hamm. SHS’s lone second-team selection was kicked Will Jeffcoat.
On Jan. 25, Tedra Alford scored a game-high 15 points to lead the Griffin High girls team past visiting Lovejoy 41-32, as the Lady Bears clinched a region playoff berth. In the late game, Terrell Love scored 11 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked three shots to lead the Bears to a 53-33 series-sweeping win against Lovejoy.
On the same night, the Spalding High girls’ version of the Twin Towers - 6-foot-2 Shakeva Richards and 6-foot-4 Elem Ibiam - combined to block nine shots as the Lady Jags avenged an early-season road loss to archrival Jackson, 58-48, at home. In the late game, B.J. Curry and Aramis Jester scored 13 points each as the SHS boys team swept t6he season series against Jackson with a 56-50 win.
On Jan. 26, the Spalding High girls basketball team won its fourth consecutive game, topping West Laurens 46-42 as Shakeva Richards scored 20 points and Shay Williams added 14.
On Jan. 29, Tedra Alford scored 18 points and Aneesah Head added 11 as the Griffin High girls basketball team won 47-39 to sweep the regular season series with visiting Riverdale.
The same day, four players - ARamis Jester (25 points), C.J. Curry (16), Darius Ross (16) and Davin White (10) - scored in double figures as the Spalding boys team won 84-81 against Eagle’s Landing to avenge a loss earlier in the month to the same team.
On Jan. 30, Griffin High defensive end Toby Jackson, the unanimous selection for Class AAAA defensive player of the year, ends month of suspense by verbally committing to the University of Georgia.