published Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Travis Core commits to Saints

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    Dade County High School head coach Glen Hicks yells to Travis Core in the second half of the Georgia Class AA boys' second-round state tournament game. Staff file photo.

Dade County’s Travis Core, the Times Free Press All-North Georgia basketball player of the year, committed to North Georgia College and State University on Monday. The three-year starter for coach Glen Hicks averaged 25.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, eight assists and four steals per game in leading the Wolverines to the Georgia Class AA playoffs.

The Saints, who compete in the NCAA Division II Peach Belt Conference, were the first to offer a scholarship to Core, who said that was a big factor in his decision to go to Dahlonega.

“They’ve been there the whole time and I really felt comfortable with them,” Core said. “I also like the small-town atmosphere; it’s almost identical to Trenton. It’s just far enough away to feel you’re on your own and close enough that I can come home in two hours or so.”

The Saints were 10-16 this past season and had a scoring point guard as one of their recruiting priorities, according to Hicks.

“They needed a point guard and he needed a place to play,” Hicks said. “They wanted someone who can also play the 2 guard and score, and Travis can certainly do that. They run an up-tempo offense, so Travis should fit right in.”

Chiefs-Pirates possible

North Jackson (Ala.) and South Pittsburg could meet in football this fall.

South Pittsburg has only nine games scheduled, and one of its open Fridays is Oct. 7. North Jackson is scheduled to play Huntsville’s Butler High that night, but because of financial concerns Butler could be closed after this school year.

“Right now we have a game scheduled and it’s against Butler, but if they were to have to shut down that school then we would start talking again,” Chiefs coach Shawn Peek said. “I don’t want to say something that’s going to get everybody all excited, and there’s still things that have to fall into place, but it would be huge if it happens.”

North Jackson and South Pittsburg are separated by less than 10 miles and rank among the area’s winningest programs. The Chiefs have won 10 region titles in 11 years, having averaged 11 wins per season and played for two Class 4A state titles in that time. The Pirates also have averaged 11 wins in that span, with two 1A state titles and a runner-up finish.

The Pirates’ nondistrict schedule already includes Signal Mountain, Polk County, Boyd-Buchanan, Knoxville Grace, Grundy County and Sequatchie County.

“We have agreed to go down there and let them keep the concessions and parking and just split the gate receipts,” Pirates coach Vic Grider said. “We don’t mind it being for just one year and having to go there, because I think it would create a lot of excitement not just in these two communities but the whole area.”

Willard out indefinitely

The bad news for Central’s softball team is that junior pitcher and all-state candidate Shelby Willard is on crutches with an injured knee. The good news for the Lady Purple Pounders is they’ve managed to go 10-2 since she got hurt in a collision at first base on April 7.

Coach LeeAnne Shurette had to turn exclusively to Chasity Ainslie, and the freshman immediately helped the Lady Pounders go 4-1 in GIbbs’ tournament with the loss coming to the host team in extra innings.

“Chasity has stepped up, and they’ve hit the ball,” Shurette said of her players. “We’ve done the things we’ve needed to do win ballgames.”

Shurette said Willard’s MRI revealed muscular damage all around the knee but no break, tear or dislocation. Rehabilitation is expected to take about four weeks, and it’s questionable whether the right-hander will be able to return this season.

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