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Feb. 24, 2009

Jets end Jaguars’ season

A season fraught with injuries and filled with disappointment ended Tuesday for the Georgia Perimeter College women’s basketball team.

Freshman Temperance Jacobs scored 16 in GPC’s finale.

Freshman Temperance Jacobs scored 16 in GPC’s finale.

The Jaguars bowed to South Georgia Tech 57-47 during the first round of the GJCAA (Region 17) tournament in Americus and closed out the year at 1-27.

As usual, the outmanned Lady Jaguars fought gallantly, pulling to within 47-41 with eight minutes left after trailing by 17 earlier in the second half. Eventually, the margin returned to double figures.

GPC, which outrebounded the Lady Jets 35-32, were led by Temperance Jacobs with 16 points and Schatavia Gray with 14.

The Lady Jaguars could not impede Dee Smith, who poured in 26 points while ringing up 10 rebounds and five assists.

GPC got close three times this season against the Lady Jets, losing by three, 11 and 10. It was a microcosm of its conference season—playing hard, hanging close and falling shy at the end.

The outlook for next season may be bright—only three players were sophomores this year. With Jacobs, Gray and many other major contributors returning next fall, the team should consist mostly of seasoned veterans ready to contend.

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Feb. 23, 2009

Williams a bright spot in rare losing season

As Kristen Williams lay comatose in a hospital bed just before last Fourth of July, little could she and her family have imagined the 5-foot-8 guard playing college basketball six months later.

Kristen Williams recovered from a serious auto injury to contribute to the second half of the season.

Kristen Williams recovered from a serious auto injury to contribute to the second half of the season.

But when Georgia Perimeter College resumed its post-holiday break schedule on Jan. 10, there was Williams, in uniform, mixing it up on the court.

Her amazing return after a frightening auto accident provides a bright spot for a team that was 1-26 entering the Region 17 tournament Tuesday in Americus.

The recent Griffin High graduate was sitting in the back seat of her car on June 29 when a friend at the wheel failed to navigate a turn. The vehicle flipped over several times.

Williams’ sister and pal, both wearing seat belts, walked away virtually unscathed. The unbelted Williams, who had been leaning forward, suffered rib, lung and brain injuries while shards of broken glass penetrated her skin. She was in a coma for three days.

When Williams awakened in time to celebrate her 18th birthday on July 7, she noticed her mother, Roshanda Dallas, and grandmother, Sherry Williams, holding vigil in the hospital room. One of her first remarks was, “What am I doing here?”

School and basketball were put on the backburner as Williams underwent rehabilitation, mostly mental to reboot her mind after the brain injury. Her tasks included looking at two nearly identical pictures and pointing out the differences between them.

Among Williams’ regular visitors were the GPC coaches who were missed her contributions the first half of the season.

“I appreciate the caring of the coaches,” Dallas said. “I was pretty impressed with that staff.”

Yet surviving a serious wreck can alter one’s priorities, and Williams’ passion for hoops ebbed during her recovery. “I didn’t really want to play anymore,” she said.

Mom and Grandma noticed, too.

“She was not motivated at all,” Dallas said. “We encouraged her. She would be wasting a lot of talent not to go back out and play.”

The prodding, especially from her grandmother, persuaded Williams to reconsider. She had played one-on-one against her little brother on the driveway goal, which stoked a small competitive fire, but it would need to be fanned further.

Doctors, at first hesitant to sign off on college-level basketball for Williams, gave the green light when their patient checked out OK, according to Dallas.

“They were stunned at how quickly she bounced back,” Dallas said.

Once GPC was granted an appeal from the national sports governing body that allowed Williams to play despite missing the first semester, she immediately earned playing time, even starting some games for GPC.

Still, she admitted, “I don’t have as much energy.” She deals almost daily with brief headaches.

It’s no surprise that the high achiever is unsatisfied with her performance, losing sight of the fact that her mere presence on the court is astonishing.

“I think I can do better,” Williams said.

She almost certainly will next season, without the late start and with her physical and mental condition much closer to normal. “I expect the energy level to come back.”

And if it’s flagging, she can recall as incentive the words of Grandma Williams: “I want you to play.”

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Feb. 21, 2009

Andrew avenges earlier loss

Andrew College got even. As a result, the Lady Tigers finished even with the Georgia Perimeter College women’s basketball team in the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association standings, winning 52-51 Saturday in Cuthbert, Ga.

GPC (1-9, 1-26), whose only victory this season was a 39-point thrashing of Andrew at home, wound up tied with the Lady Tigers in last place. A coin flip will determine each team’s seed in the Region 17 tournament Tuesday in Americus.

Andrew (1-9, 4-23) scored the decisive basket on a wild shot with 15 seconds left. Sirena Cummings, who led GPC with 13 points and nine rebounds, missed a potential game-winning shot at the buzzer.

The game was tight most of the way as both teams tried to salvage a difficult regular season with a win in their final game.

Shannon Heard scored 12 for the Lady Jaguars and accumulated four steals. Larisa Blakely matched Cummings’ total of nine rebounds.

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Feb. 19, 2009

Rebounds fail to revive GPC

The Georgia Perimeter College women’s basketball team controlled the boards Thursday but not the scoreboard.

In their strongest board work of the season, the Lady Jaguars grabbed 54 rebounds, 16 more than Truett-McConnell College. The numbers that mattered, though, were 71-64, the score in favor of the Lady Bears in Cleveland, Ga.

GPC (1-8, 1-25) narrowed a 14-point halftime deficit to four points with less than two minutes remaining. That’s as close as the visitors came to Truett (5-5, 11-17), which took the first encounter by 10 points on the Lady Jaguars’ home floor.

The rebounding prowess helped give three GPC players double-doubles: Sirena Cummings (17 points, 11 boards), Schatavia Gray (15, 10) and Larisa Blakely (11, 15). It was the first game in three weeks for Blakely, who was out with a neck injury.

The same night she returned, teammate Temperance Jacobs fell hard on her back and missed the final 15 minutes. Her status is uncertain for Saturday’s regular season finale at Andrews College, the only team GPC has beaten.

The Lady Jaguars’ home basketball games are played at GPC’s Decatur Campus, 3251 Panthersville Road, Decatur, GA 30034.

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Feb. 14, 2009

Jaguars unable to cross Meridian

One well-played half did not a victory make Saturday for the Georgia Perimeter College women’s basketball team.

The Lady Jaguars were outscored by just one point in the second half by Meridian (Miss.) Community College, but the Eagles led by 20 at intermission. They dismissed GPC 68-47 in a nonconference game.

Schatavia Gray was a standout for the visitors with 14 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. Only one teammate, Sirena Cummings (10 points), attained double figures in scoring.

Tiara Parker was a terror for the Eagles with 16 points, six rebounds, five steals and three assists.

The Jaguars (1-24), who closed to within 12 points after the break, were outscored 18-2 from the foul line in a rematch of Meridian’s 13-point triumph last month.

GPC remains on the road this week with a Thursday game against Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, Ga.

The Lady Jaguars’ home basketball games are played at GPC’s Decatur Campus, 3251 Panthersville Road, Decatur, GA 30034.

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Feb. 11, 2009

GPC’s late effort too little to stop Warriors

Seven minutes into its women’s basketball game Wednesday, Georgia Perimeter College led twice-beaten Middle Georgia College.

But dreams of a shocking upset dissipated, and the Warriors raced to a 21-point halftime lead that essentially held up in a 73-56 decision on the Decatur campus.

After their initial surge, the Jaguars took fatal blows on the boards and in the half-court offense. GPC (1-23, 1-7) was outrebounded 33-9 in the first half and committed 23 turnovers against the second-place team in the conference. Middle Georgia (19-2, 6-1) was ranked 21st nationally before losing last week.

The second half proved encouraging as the Jaguars charged to within 14 with eight minutes left, but a couple of misses from close to the basket kept the margin from shrinking further.

Shannon Heard paced GPC with 13 points; Sirena Cummings had 10. Temperence Jacobs fetched nine rebounds, while Andrienne Terrell was the assist and steals leader with seven and five, respectively.

The Jaguars board a bus to Mississippi for a Saturday afternoon tilt against Meridian Community College.

The Lady Jaguars’ home basketball games are played at GPC’s Decatur Campus, 3251 Panthersville Road, Decatur, GA 30034.

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Feb. 7, 2009

Jets fly over Jaguars

The Georgia Perimeter College women’s basketball team won its second half Saturday. But its first half deficit was too steep to overcome, and the Jaguars ran out of gas against Middle Georgia Tech 53-42 in Americus.

GPC (1-6, 1-22) mustered only 11 points before intermission. The Jaguars really had trouble from three-point range, hitting 2-of-17 for the game.

Rebounding also was a problem as Tech pulled down 16 more than the Jaguars.

With their defense inducing Tech turnovers, the visitors charged to within nine points just inside the final minute. The Lady Jets (10-17, 4-3) were able to hold them off, thanks mainly to 24 points from Dee Smith.

Schatavia Gray distinguished herself in defeat with a well-rounded performance that included 12 points, 12 rebounds, five blocks and four steals. No other Jaguar attained double-figures.

GPC next gets a shot at its second win Wednesday against Middle Georgia College. Game time is 5:30 p.m. on the Decatur campus.

The Lady Jaguars’ home basketball games are played at GPC’s Decatur Campus, 3251 Panthersville Road, Decatur, GA 30034.

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Jan. 31, 2009

Jaguars give way to Darton

A string of closely contested losses by the Georgia Perimeter College women’s basketball team was snapped Saturday, and the Lady Jaguars took a big tumble.

Darton College, unbeaten in the GJCAA, shooed away the visitors after the first five minutes and pulled away to a 99-57 win in Albany.

The hot-shooting Lady Cavaliers (16-6, 6-0 GJCAA) hit 60 percent from the floor and outrebounded GPC 42-27. The Lady Jaguars tried zone and man-to-man defenses against Darton to no avail.

GPC placed three players in double-figure points: Schatavia Gray (13), Kristen Williams (12) and Shannon Heard (11).

Shanon Coleman and Monshay Thomas each tallied 19 for Darton, which leads the conference.

The Lady Jaguars (1-21, 1-5 GJCAA) have a week between games before heading to Americus Saturday to confront South Georgia Tech.

The Lady Jaguars’ home basketball games are played at GPC’s Decatur Campus, 3251 Panthersville Road, Decatur, GA 30034.

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Jan. 29, 2009

TMC breaks tie to defeat GPC

The Georgia Perimeter College women’s basketball team weathered another loss Thursday night on the Decatur campus.

The Lady Jaguars, 1-4 in the GJCAA, bowed to Truett-McConnell College 69-59 after playing the Lady Bears nearly even for 36 minutes. The spread seemed to alternate between three and five points throughout the second half.

The guests (2-2, 7-14) got a breakaway layup to go ahead by five and were never pressed afterward.

Sirena Cummings, whose return to the roster this semester has coincided with GPC’s dramatic improvement, paced the Lady Jaguars with 15 points, followed by Michelle Smith with 12 and Schatavia Gray with 10. Gray lassoed 13 rebounds, eight of them on the offensive glass, while Cummings had nine as GPC won the battle of the boards by one.

The Lady Jaguars will try again Saturday afternoon in Albany against Darton College at 2 p.m.

The Lady Jaguars’ home basketball games are played at GPC’s Decatur Campus, 3251 Panthersville Road, Decatur, GA 30034.

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Jan. 24, 2009

Meridian outshoots Jaguars

The Georgia Perimeter College women’s basketball team blew hot and cold Saturday. There was a bit more frost than heat, though, and the Lady Jaguars bowed to Meridian (Miss.) Community College 71-58 at the Decatur campus gym.

GPC saw a 9-7 edge disappear and did not recover until the Lady Eagles had zoomed ahead 27-10. The home team altered its full-court press and rallied to within 29-26.

The margin widened by halftime, but the Lady Jaguars closed to within five in the second period, only to be buried by Meridian free throws. The Lady Eagles (13-5) sank 27 of 36, compared to 8 of 14 for GPC.

Andrienne Terrell topped GPC scorers with 16 points, followed by Temperance Jacobs with 13 and Larisa Blakely with 12. Terrell dished out five assists and Jacobs claimed nine rebounds.

The non-conference loss lowered the Lady Jaguars’ record to 1-19. They return to Region 17 play Thursday in a 5:30 home game against Truett-McConnell College.

The Lady Jaguars’ home basketball games are played at GPC’s Decatur Campus, 3251 Panthersville Road, Decatur, GA 30034.

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Jan. 21, 2009

No. 22 Warriors slip by GPC

The new year has been nothing like the old year for the Georgia Perimeter College women’s basketball team.

The Lady Jaguars gave a scare to Middle Georgia College, rated 22nd in the National Junior College Athletic Association poll. GPC led early in the second half before bowing 75-63 in Cochran Wednesday.

Through December, GPC (1-18, 1-3) went winless and most of the games were one-sided. But in four January outings, the Lady Jaguars have notched their first win, lost a home game by only three points and were competitive against two nationally ranked foes at their gyms.

Kaveria Allen was GPC’s most prolific scorer with 19, including 2-for-3 on three-point attempts. She shagged five rebounds as well. Larisa Blakely wound up with 16 points, 10 rebounds and four assists.

The Jaguars could not contain Symone Wilkerson, who piled up 24 points on 10-for-13 accuracy for the Lady Warriors (15-1, 2-0).

GPC gets an opportunity to continue its upward swing against Meridian (Miss.) Community College at 2 p.m. Saturday on the Decatur Campus.

The Lady Jaguars’ home basketball games are played at GPC’s Decatur Campus, 3251 Panthersville Road, Decatur, GA 30034.

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Jan. 17, 2009

GPC falls short despite Jacobs’ 28

The Georgia Perimeter College women’s basketball team, fresh off the season’s first victory, nearly doubled its pleasure Saturday.

A late rally fell short against South Georgia Tech in a disappointing but encouraging 63-60 setback on the Decatur Campus.

Freshman guard Temperance Jacobs scored a season-high 28 points to lead the Lady Jaguars in the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association (Region 17) match-up that came down to the final seconds.

The Jaguars (1-17, 1-2 Region 17) had a chance to tie with six seconds left on a three-point attempt by Andrienne Terrell. The ball rimmed out.

GPC trailed the Lady Jets (6-16, 1-2) by 11 points with nine minutes left before erasing nearly all of the deficit. The visitors relied on 17 offensive rebounds to keep the Lady Jaguars at bay.

Jacobs scored half of her points from the foul line, hitting 14 of 19 attempts. She had eight rebounds as well, second to Larisa Blakely’s 11. Shannon Heard scored 13 points.

“We are definitely getting better,” assistant coach Christina Shafer said. “But we’ve got our work cut out for us this week.”

GPC visits Middle Georgia College (14-1, 1-0) in Cochran on Wednesday. Middle Georgia is ranked No. 25 in the National Junior College Athletic Association coaches poll.

Saturday, the Jaguars host Meridian Community College at their home court on the Decatur Campus, beginning at 2 p.m.

The Lady Jaguars’ home basketball games are played at GPC’s Decatur Campus, 3251 Panthersville Road, Decatur, GA 30034.

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Jan. 15, 2009

Jaguars celebrate first win

Victory, at long last.

The Georgia Perimeter College women’s basketball team waded 2 1/2 months into its season—and waited what seemed like an eternity—before enjoying its first victory.

Freshman Larisa Blakely led the Jaguars with 21 points and nine rebounds.

Freshman Larisa Blakely led the Jaguars with 21 points and nine rebounds.

It was emphatic, 83-44 over Andrew College in a Georgia Junior College Athletic Association (Region 17) matchup Thursday night on the Decatur Campus.

"It was a team effort," assistant coach Christina Shafer said. "Everybody contributed."

None more than Larisa Blakely, with 21 points and nine rebounds. Michelle Smith accounted for 14 points and four assists, while Shannon Heard had 13 points and five steals without committing a single turnover.

Temperance Jacobs was chairman of the boards, hauling in 14 rebounds.

Even a scoreless player made her mark: Andrienne Terrell provided five assists and five steals. Pressure defense against the Lady Tigers (1-15) caused numerous turnovers.

The Lady Jaguars (1-16, 1-1 Region 17) hope to double their pleasure Saturday at a 2 p.m. game against South Georgia Tech on the Decatur Campus.

The Lady Jaguars’ home basketball games are played at GPC’s Decatur Campus, 3251 Panthersville Road, Decatur, GA 30034.

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Jan. 11, 2009

Jaguars give battle to No. 6 team

It does not get much more challenging than what the Georgia Perimeter College women’s basketball team faced Sunday. Not that they haven’t faced major opponents all season.

The winless Lady Jaguars took on unbeaten No. 6 Walters State Community College in Morristown, Tenn., just 24 hours after coming out of holiday hibernation with their first game, and loss, of the new year.

Yet, midway through the first half, GPC trailed its tall, deep foe by only 13-12. Walters eventually pulled away for a 72-43 win that kept the Senators perfect at 17-0 and the Jaguars (0-16) still seeking a victory.

GPC enjoyed one of its best rebounding games, as Walters State outboarded the Jaguars just 44-41. Had fouls not been so lopsided—Walters attempted 34 free throws, GPC 12—the score should have been closer.

Schatavia Gray topped the Jaguars with 12 points, supplemented by eight rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Andrienne Terrell tallied 11, many on drives to the basket, to go along with four rebounds, three assists and three steals.

“Andrienne really played well and took the ball to the hole a lot better,” said assistant coach Christina Shafer. “Walters State had really good size and are a very well balanced, undefeated team. It was a better-fought game than we’ve been playing, and I feel we competed more, even though the score was lopsided.”

With Walters State, ranked sixth in the National Junior College Athletic Association coaches poll, Georgia Perimeter has played seven games against top-ten teams. Others include two losses to No. 3 Gulf Coast Community College and losses to No. 5 Arkansas-Fort Smith, No. 7 Chipola College, No. 8 Trinity Valley Community College and No. 9 Pensacola Junior College.

Additionally, GPC fell to No. 13 Northwest Florida State and on Jan. 21 will face Middle Georgia College, a team receiving votes with an 11-1 record.

The Lady Jaguars are back home Thursday, playing host to Andrew College at 5:30 p.m. in a Region 17 game. On Saturday they face another conference foe, South Georgia Tech, at 2 p.m. The Lady Jaguars’ home basketball games are played at GPC’s Decatur Campus, 3251 Panthersville Road, Decatur, GA 30034.

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Jan. 10, 2009

GPC opens conference play with loss

After one month off, the Georgia Perimeter College women’s basketball team needed one half of play to shake off the rust. But by that time, the Lady Jaguars trailed Darton College by 28 points in Saturday’s opening game of their Region 17 schedule (Georgia Junior College Athletic Conference).

Sirena Cummings was perfect from the foul line to lead the Jaguars with 18 points.

Sirena Cummings was perfect from the foul line to lead the Jaguars with 18 points.

GPC (0-15, 0-1 Region 17) played the visitors (11-6, 1-0) even in the second period of an 80-49 defeat on the Decatur campus.

The Lady Jaguars were victimized by too many turnovers and not enough rebounds against the Lady Cavaliers from Albany. However, they showed some offensive oomph by scoring 34 points in the latter half.

Sirena Cummings’ remarkable 10-for-10 foul shooting pushed her scoring total up to 18 points. She also had seven rebounds and two blocks.

Temperance Jacobs was GPC’s other double-figure scorer with 10. She managed three rebounds and four steals as well.

Georgia Perimeter travels Sunday to Morristown, Tennessee, to visit Walters State, ranked No. 6 in the National Junior College Athletic Association poll.

Then the Jaguars return home for two conference games, hosting Andrew College on Jan. 15 at 5:30 p.m. and South Georgia Tech on Jan. 17 at 2 p.m. The Lady Jaguars’ home basketball games are played at GPC’s Decatur Campus, 3251 Panthersville Road, Decatur, GA 30034.

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Dec. 13, 2008

GPC shows progress against No. 3 power

They are improving. The evidence is clear that the young Lady Jaguars are getting better.

Freshman guard Temperance Jacobs scored 20 points for the Jaguars.

Take Saturday’s Georgia Perimeter College women’s basketball game on the Decatur Campus against unbeaten Gulf Coast Community College, the No. 3-ranked team in the National Junior College Athletic Association poll.

Freshman guard Temperance Jacobs scored 20 points for the Jaguars.

GPC, in a rebuilding season with only two returning players, reduced the margin of defeat to the powerful Commodores by 10 points from an earlier meeting while nearly doubling its scoring total. Still, Gulf Coast (13-0) breezed in the rematch 91-48.

The Lady Jaguars (0-14), who lost the series opener 81-28 in Panama City, Fla., shot 42 percent from the field, one of their most accurate games of the season. Temperance Jacobs poured in 20 points, while Adrienne Terrell had 10 to go along with six assists and four steals.

“We played much better than we did against them the last time,” GPC head coach James Waldon said.

The Lady Hurricanes hit 58 percent, including 10-of-21 on 3-point attempts, and controlled the boards.

GPC gets nearly a month off to plot its first victory of the season. The Lady Jaguars play host to Darton College at 2 p.m. on Jan. 10 to open their region schedule.

Last season Georgia Perimeter won the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association (Region 17 of the NJCAA) championship. But a loss to Darton College in the January region opener ended a 40-game region winning streak that GPC had maintained since 2005.

The Lady Jaguars’ home basketball games are played at GPC’s Decatur Campus, 3251 Panthersville Road, Decatur, GA 30034.

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Dec. 12, 2008

Shorthanded Jaguars fall short

The Georgia Perimeter College women’s basketball team could have traveled in a mini-van to its game Friday night in Rock Hill, S.C.

Suiting up seven players, down two from their already small roster, the Lady Jaguars stayed within arm’s length of Clinton College before bowing 69-48.

GPC (0-13) played without leading scorer Schatavia Gray and Khyla Johnson, who stayed home to take exams.

Temperance Jacobs filled the void with 12 points, two more than Shannon Heard. Larisa Blakely latched seven rebounds, while Adrienne Terrell had five assists and five steals.

The Lady Jaguars, playing solid defense despite being short-handed, were down only 31-27 at halftime. They made a game of it until midway through the second half, when the Lady Bears pulled away.

GPC was unable to overcome a decided foul disadvantage. Referees whistled the visitors 25 times, compared to eight for Clinton.

It’s a quick turn-around for the Lady Jaguars, who return home to the Decatur Campus Saturday to engage Gulf Coast Community College (12-0), ranked No. 3 in the National Junior College Athletic Association poll.

The Lady Jaguars’ home basketball games are played at GPC’s Decatur Campus, 3251 Panthersville Road, Decatur, GA 30034.

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Dec. 9, 2008

Chattanooga State escapes Jaguars

Despite a hot night by Schatavia Gray, a second-half lead melted for the Georgia Perimeter College women’s basketball team Tuesday, which kept the Lady Jaguars from icing down their first win of the season.

Schatavia Gray scored 21 points for the Jaguars.

Schatavia Gray scored 21 points for the Jaguars.

Chattanooga State Technical Community College (9-3) wiped out a four-point deficit inside the final 10 minutes and beat GPC 70-64 on the Decatur Campus.

Gray, a freshman forward from Jonesboro, was a standout in defeat, accumulating 21 points, eight rebounds and three assists.

It was the Lady Jaguars’ closest flirtation with victory, other than a three-point setback to the Lady Tigers in their gym in the season’s second game.

GPC (0-12) forced 31 turnovers with an effective full-court press but did not take full advantage with only 31 percent accuracy from the field. Chattanooga State outrebounded the Jaguars by 16.

“It was back and forth the whole way,” GPC assistant coach Christina Shafer said.

Gray was the only double-digit scorer for the Lady Jaguars, with Michelle Smith next at nine points. Temperance Jacobs claimed nine rebounds.

The Lady Jaguars visit Clifton College on Friday in Rock Hill, S.C.

Then they will play their last game of 2008 on Dec. 13, hosting Gulf Coast Community College at 1 p.m. Gulf Coast, 12-0 and ranked No. 3 in the National Junior College Athletic Association poll, defeated GPC at the Commodores’ tourney in Florida on Nov. 21. The Lady Jaguars’ home basketball games are played at GPC’s Decatur Campus, 3251 Panthersville Road, Decatur, GA 30034.

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Dec. 4, 2008

GPC falls to Spartanburg Methodist

The Georgia Perimeter women’s college basketball team began a new month playing in a new state this season but suffered the same result as in its previous games.

The Lady Jaguars’ first December outing on their first trip to South Carolina ended in a 66-53 loss Thursday to Spartanburg Methodist College. It dropped them to 0-11, with two defeats coming to the Lady Pioneers.

GPC’s last lead was 18-17 with just under seven minutes left in the opening half. They closed to within four during the second period.

Rebounding and free-throw differential were contributing factors. GPC was outboarded 56-29, and the Pioneers grabbed 23 valuable offensive rebounds.

The Lady Jaguars hit 6 for 11 foul shots, numbers dwarfed by SMC’s 17 for 33.

Schatavia Gray scored 14 points for GPC. Larisa Blakely and Temperance Jacobs shared rebound honors with seven. But the Jaguars couldn’t slow down Kristin Burton, with 16 points and 17 rebounds for the home team.

The search for the elusive first win continues Tuesday at the Decatur campus against Chattanooga State Technical Community College. Game time is 6 p.m. The Lady Jaguars’ home basketball games are played at GPC’s Decatur Campus, 3251 Panthersville Road, Decatur, GA 30034.

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Nov. 29, 2008

Lions’ strength overwhelms Jaguars

Tall, deep and seasoned, unbeaten Arkansas-Fort Smith College was too much for the winless Georgia Perimeter College women’s basketball team in Saturday’s final round of the GPC Classic.

The Lions (11-0), ranked fifth in the National Junior College Athletic poll, downed the Jaguars 93-56, dropping the host team’s season record to 0-10.

GPC held a momentary lead when Andrienne Terrell scored the first basket of the game. But the Lions went on a 24-2 tear to take control of the evening. The Jaguars enjoyed an 11-2 run in the second half but couldn’t sustain the drive.

Playing boldly throughout, the Jaguars managed to break the Lions’ game-long, full-court press. However, after beating the press, they forced too many shots against an airtight defense.

Three GPC players—Larisa Blakely, Brittany Brown and Khyla Johnson—scored 10 points each. Johnson added eight assists, all in 19 minutes of action.

Arkansas-Fort Smith has several starters back from its third-place team in last year’s NJCAA national tournament. Vasha Sanders was the main thorn in GPC’s side, with 20 points and 12 rebounds.

In other action Saturday at the eight-team invitational:

Amanda Harshaw and Kristin Burton scored 20 points apiece to lead Spartanburg Methodist College over Southwest Tennessee Community College 70-68. Kiana James tallied 23 in the losing effort.

Led by Theola Kinnard’s 14 points, Neosho County Community College defeated South Georgia Technical College 64-52.

Walters State Community College nipped Shelton State Community College 56-54. LaKrystle Goss led the victors with 15 points, while Darnisha Lyles scored 16 for Shelton State.

Georgia Perimeter, having faced a brutal schedule with five ranked teams so far, travels to South Carolina on Thursday to confront Spartanburg Methodist College. It’s a rematch of GPC’s third game of the season, a 54-43 loss.

The Jaguars return to the home court on Tuesday, Dec. 9, at 6 p.m., hosting Chattanooga State Technical Community College. The Lady Jaguars’ home basketball games are played at GPC’s Decatur Campus, 3251 Panthersville Road, Decatur, GA 30034.

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Nov. 28, 2008

Jaguars miss shot at first victory

The season’s first win for the Georgia Perimeter College women’s basketball team was tantalizingly close Friday night.

The Lady Jaguars trailed Southwest Tennessee Community College by three points late in the opening-round game of the GPC Classic on the Decatur Campus and had possession of the ball with a chance to tie.

But the host team was unable to draw even and went on to a 75-68 setback, dropping to 0-9 on the season.

GPC exploded for 46 first-half points and led by one at the break. One-sided foul shooting spelled doom.

Southwest Tennessee cashed in 27 of 41 free throws, compared to 6 of 14 for the Lady Jaguars. GPC also could not find the range on three-pointers, sinking 8 for 29.

Shannon Heard was the most prolific GPC scorer with 20 points. Schatavia Gray contributed 17, with 11 rebounds.

Temperance Jacobs latched onto 15 rebounds, while Michelle Smith handed out seven assists.

In other action at the eight-team invitational:

Santera Grooms poured in 20 points to lead Spartanburg Methodist College over South Georgia Technical College 50-38.

Walters State Community College defeated Neosho County Community College 63-51. Rhon’Neisha Taylor and LaKrystle Goss each scored 14 for Walters State.

Arkansas Fort Smith College, ranked No. 5 in the National Junior College Athletic Association poll, held off Shelton State Community College 80-73. Whitney Lee led the winners’ balanced scoring with 12 points.

The Lady Jaguars’ home basketball games are played at GPC’s Decatur Campus, 3251 Panthersville Road in south DeKalb County.

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Nov. 22, 2008

Top teams too much for GPC

A no-fun trip to Florida for the Georgia Perimeter College women’s basketball team ended Saturday with a 77-36 setback to Chipola Junior College.

One day after a 53-point loss to No. 3 Gulf Coast Community College, the Lady Jaguars (0-8) showed some improvement against No. 8 Chipola. But the Florida school (8-1) never was headed on a tough weekend for a GPC squad searching for its initial win.

“We played a lot better” compared to the first game, GPC assistant coach Christina Shafer said. “Holding a top-ranked team to 77 points is pretty good. We just don’t quit.”

The Lady Jaguars stayed within reach for much of the first half but found itself down 42-21 at the break.

Michelle Smith scored nine points and Larisa Blakely eight. Kaveria Allen reeled in 10 rebounds.

GPC hopes some post-Thanksgiving home-court cooking produces the season’s initial win. The GPC Classic offers eight games spread over two days on the Decatur Campus.

The Lady Jaguars play the fourth and final game on the Friday and Saturday cards, which begin with noon tip-offs. Friday’s foe is Southwest Tennessee Community College. Saturday the Jaguars face Arkansas Fort Smith College, ranked No. 5 in the National Junior College Athletic Association poll.

GPC Classic schedule:

Friday, Nov. 28

12 p.m., South Georgia Tech vs. Spartanburg Methodist

2 p.m., Neosho vs. Walters State

4 p.m., Shelton State vs. Univ. of Arkansas Fort Smith

6 p.m., Southwest Tennessee vs. GPC

Saturday, Nov. 29

12 p.m., Spartanburg Methodist vs. Southwest Tennessee

2 p.m., South Georgia Tech vs. Neosho

4 p.m., Walters State vs. Shelton State

6 p.m., GPC vs. Univ. of Arkansas Fort Smith

The GPC Classic will be played at GPC’s Decatur Campus, 3251 Panthersville Road, Decatur, GA 30034.

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Nov. 21, 2008

Second half rough for Jaguars

A no-fun trip to Florida for the Georgia Perimeter College women’s basketball team ended Saturday with a 77-36 setback to Chipola Junior College.

One day after a 53-point loss to No. 3 Gulf Coast Community College, the Lady Jaguars (0-8) showed some improvement against No. 8 Chipola. But the Florida school (8-1) never was headed on a tough weekend for a GPC squad searching for its initial win.

“We played a lot better” compared to the first game, GPC assistant coach Christina Shafer said. “Holding a top-ranked team to 77 points is pretty good. We just don’t quit.”

The Lady Jaguars stayed within reach for much of the first half but found itself down 42-21 at the break.

Michelle Smith scored nine points and Larisa Blakely eight. Kaveria Allen reeled in 10 rebounds.

GPC hopes some post-Thanksgiving home-court cooking produces the season’s initial win. The GPC Classic offers eight games spread over two days on the Decatur Campus.

The Lady Jaguars play the fourth and final game on the Friday and Saturday cards, which begin with noon tip-offs. Friday’s foe is Southwest Tennessee Community College. Saturday the Jaguars face Arkansas Fort Smith College, ranked No. 5 in the National Junior College Athletic Association poll.

GPC Classic schedule:

Friday, Nov. 28

12 p.m., South Georgia Tech vs. Spartanburg Methodist

2 p.m., Neosho vs. Walters State

4 p.m., Shelton State vs. Univ. of Arkansas Fort Smith

6 p.m., Southwest Tennessee vs. GPC

Saturday, Nov. 29

12 p.m., Spartanburg Methodist vs. Southwest Tennessee

2 p.m., South Georgia Tech vs. Neosho

4 p.m., Walters State vs. Shelton State

6 p.m., GPC vs. Univ. of Arkansas Fort Smith

The GPC Classic will be played at GPC’s Decatur Campus, 3251 Panthersville Road, Decatur, GA 30034.

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Nov. 21, 2008

Second half rough for Jaguars

A no-fun trip to Florida for the Georgia Perimeter College women’s basketball team ended Saturday with a 77-36 setback to Chipola Junior College.

One day after a 53-point loss to No. 3 Gulf Coast Community College, the Lady Jaguars (0-8) showed some improvement against No. 8 Chipola. But the Florida school (8-1) never was headed on a tough weekend for a GPC squad searching for its initial win.

“We played a lot better” compared to the first game, GPC assistant coach Christina Shafer said. “Holding a top-ranked team to 77 points is pretty good. We just don’t quit.”

The Lady Jaguars stayed within reach for much of the first half but found itself down 42-21 at the break.

Michelle Smith scored nine points and Larisa Blakely eight. Kaveria Allen reeled in 10 rebounds.

GPC hopes some post-Thanksgiving home-court cooking produces the season’s initial win. The GPC Classic offers eight games spread over two days on the Decatur Campus.

The Lady Jaguars play the fourth and final game on the Friday and Saturday cards, which begin with noon tip-offs. Friday’s foe is Southwest Tennessee Community College. Saturday the Jaguars face Arkansas Fort Smith College, ranked No. 5 in the National Junior College Athletic Association poll.

GPC Classic schedule:

Friday, Nov. 28

12 p.m., South Georgia Tech vs. Spartanburg Methodist

2 p.m., Neosho vs. Walters State

4 p.m., Shelton State vs. Univ. of Arkansas Fort Smith

6 p.m., Southwest Tennessee vs. GPC

Saturday, Nov. 29

12 p.m., Spartanburg Methodist vs. Southwest Tennessee

2 p.m., South Georgia Tech vs. Neosho

4 p.m., Walters State vs. Shelton State

6 p.m., GPC vs. Univ. of Arkansas Fort Smith

The GPC Classic will be played at GPC’s Decatur Campus, 3251 Panthersville Road, Decatur, GA 30034.

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Nov. 15, 2008

Jaguars fail to dig out of hole

The Georgia Perimeter College women’s basketball team played its opponent dead-even Saturday—for one half.

The Lady Jaguars spotted Tallahassee Junior College a 36-21 edge at intermission, then matched the winners in the second half, which ended with GPC down 73-58.

For the Lady Jaguars (0-6), it was a small victory in a season without an official one.

"A much better effort," head coach James Waldon said. But GPC could not put the clamps on Tallahassee’s Samantha Phillips, who drilled 7 of 12 three-point attempts. "She just got in a zone," Waldon said.

Sophomore guard Michelle Smith caught fire from three-point land for the Lady Jaguars, nailing 4 of 5. Her 12 points were second on the team to Brittany Brown’s 14. Larisa Blakely and Temperance Jacobs chipped in with 10 points apiece.

The Lady Jaguars trimmed the deficit to 10 points in the second half but could get no further by failing to cash in on two straight possession.

The game wrapped up a three-day appearance at the Holiday Inn Express Alzeimer’s Classic in Marianna, Fla. GPC’s rigorous schedule continues as the Jaguars drive back to Florida next weekend for a tournament in Panama City, Fla., opening Friday against host Gulf Coast Community College.

That tournament features the second and third of four top-ten teams on the Jaguars’ November schedule. Thursday in Marianna they lost to Trinity Valley Community College, ranked second in the National Junior College Athletic Association preseason coaches poll. Next Friday it’s Gulf Coast, ranked No. 5, and No. 9 Chipola College on Saturday.

Then on Nov. 28-29 Georgia Perimeter hosts the GPC Classic at its home gym on the Decatur Campus. The Jaguars will play not only No. 8 University of Arkansas-Fort Smith but also No. 28 Southwest Tennessee Community College.

"We’ll be battle-tested," says Waldon, who lined up the brutal schedule to prepare his squad for Region 17 play in January.

The Lady Jaguars’ home basketball games are played at GPC’s Decatur Campus, 3251 Panthersville Road in south DeKalb County.

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Nov. 14, 2008

Pensacola downs winless GPC

It was another point-starved outing Friday for the Georgia Perimeter College women’s basketball team, which remained hungry for its first win after a 75-32 loss to Pensacola Junior College.

The Lady Jaguars (0-5) suffered through their second sub-40-point game in two days at the Holiday Inn Express Alzeimer’s Classic in Marianna, Fla.

They failed to place a single player in double figures as Temperance Jacobs paced the Jaguars with nine points. Freshman post Larisa Blakely seized nine rebounds.

GPC did show some life after trailing 42-11 at halftime to the Pirates.

"In the second half, our defense was a whole lot better," assistant coach Christina Shafer said. "We saw some improvement there."

But the Lady Jaguars were unable to consistently convert turnovers into points.

GPC brought only nine players, all but two freshmen, to the tournament. With a depth-deprived squad, the Lady Jaguars must play their third game in as many days, facing Tallahassee Junior College at noon Saturday before heading home.

The Lady Jaguars’ home basketball games are played at GPC’s Decatur Campus, 3251 Panthersville Road in south DeKalb County.

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Nov. 13, 2008

Veterans upend young Jaguars in Florida

In search of the season’s first win, the Georgia Perimeter College women’s basketball team was unlikely to find it Thursday.

The opponent:Trinity Valley Community College (Texas), ranked No. 2 in the nation.

The outcome: a one-sided result, 100-39 in favor of the Cardinals at the Holiday Inn Express Alzeimer’s Classic in Marianna, Fla.

"Their experience definitely showed up," GPC assistant coach Christina Shafer said of Trinity Valley, which ousted GPC in the NJCAA tournament last season by a mere four points.

While the Cardinals welcomed back most of their roster, the Lady Jaguars (0-4) are in rebuilding mode. The outcome was certain at halftime, when GPC trailed 52-11.

The lone shining light for the Lady Jaguars was Schatavia Gray. She scored 18 points, nearly half of GPC’s total, supplemented by 14 rebounds and three steals. Larisa Blakely took 11 rebounds to go with eight points.

Gray "played very well," Shafer said. "She’s been very consistent--athletic and aggressive." The Lady Jaguars can get Thursday’s game out of their system quickly. They encounter Pensacola Junior College at 1 p.m. Friday in Marianna.

The Lady Jaguars’ home basketball games are played at GPC’s Decatur Campus, 3251 Panthersville Road in south DeKalb County.

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Nov. 10, 2008

Cold night catches Jaguars

Temperatures dipped into the 30s Monday, and the Georgia Perimeter College women’s basketball team dipped into the 20s in a 54-43 loss to Spartanburg (S.C.) Methodist College on the Decatur Campus.

No Lady Jaguar reached double figures in scoring as the home team shot 20 percent from the field. Shannon Heard, Larisa Blakely and Schatavia Gray scratched out seven points each.

GPC (0-3) mounted a mini-run in the second half, closing to within 47-39 with 3 1/2 minutes remaining. The Pioneers answered with two baskets.

“Those were the backbreakers,” assistant coach Christina Shafer said. “We could never close the gap any more.”

Shafer noticed improvement on the defensive end after GPC’s previous two opponents scored in the 70s. The Lady Jaguars held the visitors in check even though they could not press full-court much of the game, as is their pattern.

Depth was in short supply Monday, with only eight players suited up. Injuries sidelined the others.

GPC heads south for three games in as many days at the Holiday Inn Express Alzheimer’s Classic, hosted by Chipola College in Marianna, Fla. The Lady Jaguars open with Trinity Valley Community College on Thursday, and then meet Pensacola College and Tallahassee College Friday and Saturday.

Trinity Valley, located in Athens, Texas, is ranked second in the National Junior College Athletic Association preseason poll. The following weekend Georgia Perimeter will again visit Florida to face two more top-ranked teams, No. 5 Gulf Coast Community College and No. 9 Chipola College.

The Lady Jaguars’ home basketball games are played at GPC’s Decatur Campus, 3251 Panthersville Road in south DeKalb County.

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Nov. 4, 2008

Chattanooga State bests GPC

The Georgia Perimeter College women’s basketball team came close to derailing the Chattanooga State choo-choo. But the Lady Jaguars ran out of steam at the end of a 70-67 loss Tuesday in the Lady Tigers’ gym.

GPC (0-2), which trailed by 11 points at halftime and 13 at one stage, assumed the lead with six minutes left. After falling back behind, the visitors rallied to within three points when Bianqa Wright stole the ball and passed to Kaveria Allen for a three-point basket.

However, the Lady Jaguars never got another possession as Chattanooga State ran out the clock.

“It was a good game. We jelled as a team,” said assistant coach Christina Shafer. “We had opportunities.”

However, Shafer pointed out that the Lady Jaguars were unable to convert turnovers into points and connected on fewer than half of their foul shots.

Freshman forward Schatavia Gray paced GPC with 13 points, followed by Adrienne Terrell with 11 and Wight with 10.

The Lady Jaguars are back home on Monday in search of their first victory. The opponent is Spartanburg (S.C.) Methodist, with tip-off at 6 p.m.

The Lady Jaguars’ home basketball games are played at GPC’s Decatur Campus, 3251 Panthersville Road in south DeKalb County.

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Nov. 1, 2008

Clinton outlasts Jaguars in opener

The Four Freshmen were a popular vocal group in the 1950s known for their harmonies.

Add one freshman, and you’ve got the Georgia Perimeter College starting lineup at its women’s basketball opener Saturday at the Decatur Campus gym.

Things went less than harmoniously as the Lady Jaguars tumbled to Clinton Junior College of Rock Hill, S.C., 71-60, in a game that was closer than the score shows.

GPC, which suited up only two sophomores on its thin nine-player contingent, trailed just 33-32 at halftime and built up five-point leads in both halves.

But the Lady Jaguars lost two players to fouls, further cutting into their limited depth, allowing the visitors to pull ahead. Their main advantage was on the boards, outrebounding GPC by 14, with a significant edge on the offensive side.

“We’re young,” assistant coach Christina Shafer said. “We’re going to go through the fires” until gaining experience.

Temperance Jacobs and Larisa Blakely, who came off the bench, shared GPC scoring honors with 12 points each.

The five freshmen starters were Jacobs, Shannon Heard, Andrienne Terrell, Bianqa Wright and Schatavia Gray. Jacobs dropped in the first points of the season with two free throws and followed with the first field goal, a layup after the team suffered a three-minute cold spell.

As for a first victory, the Lady Jaguars will continue to seek it in their first road game Tuesday at Chattanooga State. They return to the home court on Nov. 10, hosting Spartanburg Methodist College at 6 p.m.

The Lady Jaguars’ home basketball games are played at GPC’s Decatur Campus, 3251 Panthersville Road in south DeKalb County.

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Oct. 31, 2008

GPC outlook: youth movement, scary schedule

It can’t happen again, James Waldon thought. No way could his Georgia Perimeter College women’s basketball team possibly repeat its dreadful 5-13 record in the first half of last season.

Now, he’s not so sure. The head coach, diving into his 11th campaign at GPC, is braced for a slow start, but expects the Lady Jaguars to right themselves, as they did last year in a remarkable run to the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament.

He foresees the team following a similar snowballing pattern “if we stay healthy.” A rigorous pre-holiday break schedule, launched Nov. 1 against Clinton College on the Decatur Campus, surely will result in some setbacks.

“But they’ll be battle-tested,” Waldon says of his players, by the time they delve into the Region 17 schedule, comprised of in-state opponents.

Reinforcements were lined up to enrich a roster hit hard by graduation. As testament to the program’s excellence, evidenced by GPC’s four consecutive regular season and region titles, four outgoing sophomores accepted scholarships or walk-on offers, most significantly post player Stephanie Solomon to Division 1 member Virginia Commonwealth. Guard Leslie Phillips was rewarded for her region most valuable player effort, along with second-team all-region Brittany Cade and Renee Shackleford, both inside players.

They were chief contributors in an astonishing turn of fortunes that brought 13 wins in 14 outings prior to the national tourney, where the Jaguars went 0-2.

However, guard Nia Davis, a second-team all-region selection, elected to withdraw from school. Then an All-America junior college player from Florida backed out of her commitment, and a couple of other promising recruits fell by the wayside.

“We have talent,” Waldon says. “It’s just a matter of getting them to do what we want. That’s the key.”

The two returning sophomores both figure to contribute heavily this season.

Michelle Smith of Lithonia (Faith Academy H.S.) is a 5-foot-9 shooter, and Sirena Cummins of Sandersville (Washington H.S.) is a 6-3 low-post scorer and defender who entered the lineup late and never was dislodged.

The coach says he is delighted to have the pair of veterans who will serve as example for the rookies. The only other sophomore is guard Brittany Brown (New Orleans, La., Glen Oaks H.S.), a transfer who is a projected backup.

Jobs likely staked out from practice performance include guards Shannon Heard (Newnan, Lovejoy H.S.) and Temperance Jacobs (San Diego, Calif., Luella H.S.).

Also look for notable production from post player Larisa Blakely (Austell, South Cobb H.S.), guard Andrienne Terrell (Decatur, Decatur H.S.) and forwards Bianqa Wright (Austin, Texas, Prosper H.S.) and Schatavia Gray (Jonesboro, Lovejoy H.S.).

With only three players over 6 feet, and seven guards to call on, Waldon anticipates racheting up full-court pressure and the running game.

“We’ll be a lot quicker in our presses,” Waldon says. “Our foot speed is much better. We can get a few more turnovers.”

Waldon won’t make the same mistake he did last year, when he switched to a relatively slow-paced, half-court attack that catered to the big players. During the holiday hiatus, he junked the new-found philosophy in favor of the run-and-gun offense, full-court defense to which he is accustomed. The result? The Jaguars went on a 14-1 run, won the region and advanced to the national tournament for the fourth consecutive year.

The Lady Jaguars will be hard-pressed to carry over the momentum, in large part because of a gauntlet of power-house foes awaiting them.

“I’m not afraid to play the schedule,” Waldon says, while admitting it’s a daunting task.

The 19-16 record of a year ago was his worst since 2003-2004. It looks far better through the prism of that 5-13 beginning.

Provided GPC gets through its scary nonregion schedule, a shot at another region crown beckons. Then, perhaps, advancement to the nationals. “That,” Waldon says, “would be special because of our youth.”

The Lady Jaguars’ home basketball games are played at GPC’s Decatur Campus, 3251 Panthersville Road in south DeKalb County.

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