Panthers finish fourth in Gainesville Tournament

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The Lady Panthers of Jackson County Comprehensive High School came into the Gainesville Tournament as a mid major but surrendered two games and finished fourth overall.

Cambridge High School was looking for its first win of the year but couldn’t have their way against Jackson County. The Panthers sealed a 70-20 win in their highest point total so far this season. The Bears eventually earned its first win of the season over Johnson High School of Gainesville.

Victoria Fontana led the pack with 14 points, seven steals and six rebounds. Phillips finished with 12 points and four steals; Gabbi Kastner and Mason Garland added ten each.

“[It was a] great team win and [a] super defensive effort,” said Head Coach John Hawley.

Day one may have been a walk in the park but JCCHS hit a pot hole against Chattahoochee High School in a 50-39 fall.

“[It was] not a good team effort tonight. Our poor offensive execution tonight created their offense and we didn’t have a good consistent team defensive effort,” Hawley said.

Before the final curtain closed, Jackson County had to face Franklin County High School for the second time this season. FCHS took the first game in a 47-30 win on Dec. 18 in a region matchup. The Lions struck again but this time the Panthers did not fall by double digits. It was a close 4-point loss and Hawley noted it was one that could have been prevented.

[“I’m] really proud of the girls effort [against] Franklin. [It would have been a] much better game if [we] would have finished around the basket and [shot] better foul shots; [if we would have done that] we [would have won] the game.

Garland led the way with 15 points; Fontana followed with eight and Shelton Kendrix added seven.

The tourney contained a good mixture of teams in terms of talent but Parkview High School was arguably in a league of its own. PHS has become a powerhouse in the state over recent years; the Panthers went 30-0 before falling to Norcross in the state title game last year. It’s no surprise that Parkview took the Gainesville Tournament Title and moved to 13-0 on the year.

Now the Panthers must return back to reality and get ready for the heavy portion of their conference schedule.

“Despite the results of the tournament, I am very proud of how far the girls have come as a team and if they continue to have faith in each other, they will continue to improve and be ready for the bulk of the region schedule and region tournament,” said Hawley.

Jackson County will return to action Jan. 4 at home against North Oconee County High School. Showtime is set for 7 p.m.