Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local Sports

February 20, 2012

GSW basketball teams split two with North Georgia

AMERICUS — Amid a four-game losing streak, the Georgia Southwestern Hurricanes were looking to simply secure a win and a winning season for 2011-12. Their match-up on Saturday afternoon versus North Georgia was favorable. Their two-point win over the Saints on February 1st in the Storm Dome was the only win for GSW in their last nine games. It was not to be for the Hurricanes as they dropped their twelfth PBC game 70-65 at North Georgia.

Jamon Hawkins would score a career-high 20 points to go along with his four assists in the losing effort. It would mark the third time this season the sophomore had set or reset his career high in points. Hawkins was one of three double digit scorers for GSW, which also included Evan Mobley with 15 points and Milos Kleut with twelve points. The trio combined to score 72% of all Hurricane points.

GSW's calling card has been defense, but they struggled to lock down the Saints. North Georgia shot 24-45 (53.3%) from the field for the game and an even better 62.2% (5-8) from beyond the arc. The Saints also out-rebounded the Hurricanes by nine.

The home Saints would get out in front early and lead for the game's first eleven minutes. It wasn't until Tyler Gunnett's three-pointer with 8:13 to play in the half that the Hurricanes would have their first lead of the game at 22-20. However, North Georgia would answer the Gunnett basket with a 10-0 run over the next 4:08.

Georgia Southwestern would fight the remaining 4:08 to tie the game 33-33 at halftime courtesy of two more Tyler Gunnett points. The junior guard's two free throws capped a 11-3 by the Blue & Gold to end the first half.

Statistically the two teams were neck and neck as the tie score would suggest. Coach Leeder and company shot an impressive 53% (10-19) from the field, which was aided by the Hurricanes converting on all four of their attempts from beyond the arc. The Canes also converted nine of their eleven free throw attempts in the first half, which was almost 18% higher than their average as the worst free throw shooting team in the PBC.

Guard Jamon Hawkins (nine points and three assists) and center Milos Kleut (eight points and three rebounds) accounted for over half GSW's scoring in the first half. They were two of six Hurricanes to score in the first half.

North Georgia put the game on tilt by scoring 21 points in the first eleven minutes of the second half to grab the 54-47 lead. The Hurricanes would come back again to tie the game with 3:15 thanks to a Jamon Hawkins steal and lay-up to make it 62-62.

North Georgia's Clarence Tillman would score on the next two possessions to put the Saints back up 67-62. A technical foul would be assessed to North Georgia, and Jamon Hawkins would make both technical foul shots. Mobley would split the following pair of free throws to bring GSW to within two points with 1:13 left to play.

Neither Hawkins nor Mobley would be able to hit jump shots as the Hurricanes wouldn't come any closer than two points in the final minute of the 70-65 loss.

The loss puts the Georgia Southwestern record at 12-12 overall (3-12 PBC).

The Lady ‘Canes would fair much better in their effort against the Lady Saints.

Junior forward Adrian Randall had a career night and was the story of the game. Her 27 points and six blocks were career highs while her 16 rebounds was the second highest total of her career. Not only did she put up the type of numbers that won her PBC Player of the Week honors in December, but she would get the best of three-time PBC player of the week Jaymee Carnes. Carnes, who was averaged 26 points and eleven rebounds would finish the night with an impressive 18 points and 17 rebounds.

North Georgia jumped out early as they would lead by five points at the game's first media timeout and seven points by the second media timeout. The early deficit for GSW was fueled by the starting trio guards of Bivins, Branch and Walters scoring a combined two points in the game's first ten minutes. As a team Georgia Southwestern shot 23 percent from the field through the game's first ten minutes.

Coach Britsky's words and adjustments during the second media timeout appeared to sink in as the Blue & Gold would go on an 18-2 run to lead the game at 29-20 with 3:34 to play in the first half. GSW would slow down to close the half and lead 34-30 at the break.

The Lady Hurricanes would raise their shooting to 33.3 percent  from the field by halftime but it was no thanks to their 1-11 (9.1 percent) shooting from beyond the arc in the half. While the rebounding battle was tied at 23 rebounds per team, GSW was able to force North Georgia into eleven first-half turnovers.

After only scoring two points in the first ten minutes, GSW guard trio (Branch, Bivins and Walters) would score ten points by halftime. Jessica Jones would lead all GSW players with eight points. Adrian Randall would tally seven points and six rebounds in the game's initial half.

The PBC's leading scorer, Jaymee Carnes, would score eleven points while grabbing nine rebounds to lead the Lady Saints in the first half. She was the half's only double-digit scorer, for either team, in the first half.

Adrian Randall would explode in the second half. She would score 18 of her 27 points and grab eleven of her 16 rebounds for the game in the second half. Randall would also be part of the GSW defense that held Carnes to just seven points in the second half. In fact, Carnes would finish about eight points below her season average. Randall was joined by Jessica Bivins as two Lady Hurricanes who scored ten points or more in the second half. Terra Branch was right behind the two with nine second-half points.

The GSW win puts their record at 17-7 (8-6 PBC), which continues their best season as a NCAA Division II and Peach Belt Conference member. They will look to continue the improvement in their home finale on Wednesday, February 22nd. Wednesday's 5:30 tip-off against Georgia College will be "Senior Night" in honor of GSW's five seniors; Terra Branch, Samantha Smith, Tania Walters, Jessica Jones and Jessica Bivins.

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