They may not be a region rival but the Winder-Barrow High School Bulldoggs are close enough to Jackson County Comprehensive High School to make the competition feel like a conference showdown.
Plenty of bodies in the visitors’ section usually presents a hostile environment and takes away the home field advantage from the host, and the Bulldoggs certainly had a crowd to root them on. But the Lady Panthers came out as the victor in a game that wasn’t much of a battle from the start.
Katie Phillips put two on her stat sheet to open the night and the Panthers added two from the charity stripe to start its offensive drive for the girls’ team.
The JCCHS defense prohibited the Bulldoggs from getting any sort of momentum. With many of Winder-Barrow’s shots off the mark, Jackson County was able to jump out to a 13-5 lead with less than a minute to play in the first quarter. The Panthers’ ability to get shots off the glass turned into a headache for Winder-Barrow. The Bulldoggs were held to just 10 points in the first half.
“I thought [they] did a great job of defending. [We] are just a hair away from getting more passes and steals. We got to the foul line great tonight,” said Head Coach John Hawley.
W-BHS went through a famine in terms of points; their access to the basket was denied throughout most of the night due to turnovers and poor shooting. Their misfortune continued as the Bulldoggs scored just 12 points in the rest of the match.
Victoria Fontana finished the night with 12 points and five rebounds, which was a big contribution in the Jackson County’s 44-22 win.
It was a slow night on the boys’ side as the Panthers and Bulldoggs struggled from nearly every area on the court. Identifying their misfortunes wasn’t easy but it seemed as though they were shooting the ball into a closed net. Shots were not falling for both teams but Winder-Barrow managed to take a 4-point win over Jackson County.
It took the boys a while to get their groove going but Xavier Harper finally ended the silence in the crowd with a 3-pointer. Mo Wade added two to the board and later, a little razzle-dazzle that ended with an outstanding drive to the hole. His efforts allowed JCCHS to take a 1-point lead.
Each squad continued to see the same results; shots were fired but the target was missed.
The Bulldoggs drew first blood coming out of the half and JCCHS stayed close behind but began to slip away through the fourth quarter as the Bulldogs boasted an 8-point advantage. Their run toward the end of the matchup allowed the Bulldoggs to stay in front and secure a 40-36 win.
The Lady Panthers will return to action on Dec. 27-29 in the Gainesville Tournament. A time has not yet been announced. The boys will have a much lighter schedule as they take on Washington-Wilkes High School at WWHS. Showtime is set for 2 p.m. on Dec. 28.