The Commerce Lady Tigers started sluggish but finished strong against Hebron Christian Academy last Friday.
The Lady Tigers, behind a 17-point performance from Marae Carruth, snagged their third win of the season, defeating the Lady Lions 35-18.
The Lady Tigers (3-14, 2-5 Region 8-A) trailed 8-6 after the first quarter. Carruth rallied the team in the second quarter, scoring eight of the team’s 10 points. The Lady Tigers led 16-12 at halftime.
Carruth added three more points in third quarter and the Lady Tigers’ defense pitched a shutout as the lead stretched to 22-12.
Gracie Hamilton scored eight of her 11 points in the fourth quarter as the Lady Tigers had their biggest scoring quarter with 13 points.
The Commerce boys’ basketball team found itself tied with HCA at 57-57 with 28.1 seconds left. The Lions made one free throw to gain a one-point lead.
Once a Tigers’ corner shot missed the mark, HCA escaped with a one-point victory, 58-57.
Tristan Boyer led the Tigers with 19 points. Fourteen points came in the third quarter. He scored his remaining five in the fourth quarter.
Jamecus Cox scored 13 points, eight in the first half.
Chandler Martin scored 12 points including seven in the fourth quarter.
Trailing 27-24 at halftime, the Tigers rallied behind 12-straight points by Boyer to tie the game at 36-36. His go ahead bucket late in the quarter put the Tigers ahead 40-38.
But HCA ended the quarter on a 6-0 run and took a four-point lead into the final quarter, 44-40.
The Tigers tied the game at 49-49 when Cox connected for two points but quickly fell behind four points as the clock wound down.
After an HCA free throw moved the score to 57-54, Boyer hit a 3-pointer to tie at 57-57. An HCA player made a free throw at the other end of the floor and the corner miss as time expired, left the Tigers one point behind.
The Commerce High School varsity girls’ swim team competed in its last regular-season meet last Saturday at the University of Georgia’s Ramsey Center as part of the Clarke-Oconee Swim Invitational.
Commerce finished fifth overall.
Commerce will compete in the state meet, which takes place Friday and Saturday, Feb. 3-4 at Georgia Tech.
Preliminaries at state will be held on Friday and the top-20 swimmers will advance to the finals held on Saturday. Commerce competes with schools from Class A to Class AAAAA.
“We have never made finals, so we are hoping to have a great preliminary session to advance to finals,” head coach Lisa Langston said.
Langston said the team competed “strong” while swimming against “much bigger” teams and classifications last Saturday. The team had only four swimmers.
“The relay teams placed second in both the 200-yard medley relay and the 200-yard freestyle relay.
“There were 37 relay teams and we are very proud to have placed second, beating out North Oconee and Jefferson,” Langston said.
The relay team consists of senior, Anna Hardy, swimming the freestyle in both relays; juniors, Kate Massey (butterfly) and Jessie Pritchett (breaststroke); and sophomore, Samantha Davidson (backstroke).
“The girls dropped two seconds in the medley relay and over two seconds in the freestyle relay,” Langston said. “These times will help get them a better seed time for the state meet.”
Individually, the girls swam to personal-best times. Hardy swam a personal-best time in the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle.
“Anna has been a huge part of this team for four years. She is an exceptional leader. She is a strong swimmer,” Langston said.
Massey swam season-bests in the 100-yard butterfly and the 200-yard individual medley, finishing third in both events out of 36 swimmers.
“Kate swam great in her events and helped our medley relay with her strong butterfly,” Langston continued.
Pritchett dropped time in her 50-yard freestyle time and swam to an eighth-place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke.
“Jessie has had a great season by improving her time each meet,” Langston said.
Davidson helped jumpstart the medley relay by leading the team with the backstroke.
“Samantha’s strong start in the relay motivated our girls to swim fast and hard,” Langston said. “She also did great in her individual events by placing second in the 50-yard freestyle and won the 100-yard breaststroke.”
The Commerce Tiger wrestling team dominated the state duals in Macon.
Now, the team looks to keep the momentum rolling with individual performances as the Tigers host the Area 4-A traditional tournament this Friday and Saturday.
The top-four finishers in each weight class advance to the sectional tournament at Holy Innocents.
“We’re excited about it,” head coach Kendall Love said. “It’s a win or go home at this point.”
Love said the team has worked hard, and their schedule proves it. The Tigers traveled to Tennessee (twice) and Minnesota (once). They also competed in several invitationals with all classifications represented.
“We know it’s going to be tougher this year, because a lot of teams from Class AA dropped down,” he said.
Teams in the area includes: Athens Academy, Athens Christian, Holy Innocents, Mt. Vernon and Wesleyan, whom Commerce defeated in the finals of the state duals.
The past two seasons, the Tigers advanced wrestlers in all 14 weight classes. Last season, they claimed all 14 area titles.
“We’ve got a target on our back,” Love said. “Everybody feels like to win an area title, they have to beat a Commerce kid, because we had 14 area champions last year.
“That’s a feat that doesn’t happen often. It’d be nice for it to happen again, but it’s definitely going to be a tougher job for us to do this year because the area is so much tougher.”
Love is emphasizing to his team to “stay focused.”
“That’s the main thing right now. They know the wrestling. They’re in good shape,” Love said.
Love doesn’t want prior success to affect the wrestlers’ mental aspect.
“That’s part of why we’ve had the schedule we’ve had, to get them beat some and let them know there’s still work to get done,” Love said. “They continue to work hard and I don’t think they’re overlooking anybody. I think we’ll be ready to go this weekend.”
It is also the first home meet for Commerce this season. Love said being at home is “very important.”
“I hope our fans come out and I know the guys are excited to wrestle at home,” Love said. “Maybe more folks can get to see the hard work they put in this year.”