This past Friday on day two of the Mountaintop Holiday Classic, the Lady Bobcats traveled to take on the Lady Rebels. The Lady Bobcats were coming from a win on day one of the tournament while the Lady Rebels were well rested from the bye game that was scheduled on the first day. Both teams came ready to play and were hungry for another win.
It appeared to be an even matchup from the start. Gilmer had the hustle on defense while Fannin had the determination on offense. The Lady Rebels seemed to score the majority of their points off plays. Lady Rebel, Maleah Stepp, led Fannin in scoring with thirteen points with her will to win. The Lady Bobcats made most of their points from driving the lane and playing in the moment. Lady Bobcat, Mallory Kiser, led her team in scoring with nine points due to her grit. Lady Rebel post, Mackenzie McClure, was on fire with her outside shots which put her right behind Stepp in scoring with ten points. Lady Bobcat guard, Taylor Boling, was behind Kiser in scoring with seven points overall. With the first quarter coming to an end, the Lady Rebels were just one point ahead of the Lady Bobcats with a score of 13-12.
The second quarter was back and forth. Neither team could keep a consistent lead for the eight minutes on the clock. The Lady Rebels started to play scrappy on defense and began rebounding. Lady Rebel, Bailey Whitener, got aggressive down low and contributed three points for her team. Another Lady Rebel, Maddie Johnson, got after it and scored five points after getting steals on defense. Gilmer started looking up the court to find Lady Bobcat, Marylee Callihan, who also put five points on the board for her team. Number twenty-four for the Lady Bobcats, Emma Callihan, put her all into the game and contributed four points for Gilmer. With Fannin in the lead halfway through the quarter, Lady cat Michaela Staley drew a foul and made two of her foul shots. Staley’s two points tied up the game. Gilmer continued to score and further their lead until the end of the second quarter. It was the Lady Rebels ball as the clock was winding down and Reagan Henderson happened to be wide open. Henderson received a beautiful pass down low which resulted in her making a buzzer beater shot and contributing two of her overall three points to tie the game 23-23.
With both teams having the same chances of winning, Fannin found their spunk. The Lady Rebels started to draw fouls from driving the lane. Lady Rebel, Hope Franklin, drew two fouls from the block and contributed two of her four points from the foul line. However, Fannin was not the only team to draw fouls. Lady Bobcat, Katie Kiker, drew a foul and put one point on the board for Gilmer. As Fannin’s lead extended, Gilmer came alive on the block. Lady Bobcat, Faith Ralston, scored two of her three points from down low. Another post for Gilmer, Jasmine Staley, contributed two points for the Lady Bobcats from under the basket. Gilmer’s lead strayed farther from Fannin’s which resulted in the score being 31-25 at the end of the third quarter.
With Gilmer down by only six points, they were determined to make a come back. Both teams wanted to win and it showed through their hustle and intensity. With Gilmer trying their best to catch up to Fannin, the Lady Rebels tried just as hard to keep their lead. Although both teams had the heart to win the game, one had to lose. The Lady Bobcats played an amazing game, but were five points away from victory. The Lady Rebels 38-33 win over the Lady Bobcats put Fannin in the championship game to be played the next day against the Lady Dragons.
The Lady Rebels win puts their overall record at 7-6 while the Lady Bobcats record also stands at 7-6. Catch the Lady Rebels next region game at Fannin County High School on January 5 against GAC starting at 7:00! Or catch the Lady Bobcats next region game on the same day and at the same time as they travel to take on Northwest Whitfield!
On Friday, Dec 15, The Fannin County Lady Rebels hosted the Towns County Indians and looking to bounce back after a tough loss the night prior at Dawson County. They also suffered a similar loss on the road earlier in the week at North Hall (Gainesville).
“The snow days definitely affected our girls’ conditioning and focus,” said Fannin Lady Rebels’ head coach Suzianne Pass when asked about the 53-27 North Hall loss. “We didn’t play our best and when you’re playing a team like [North Hall] you have to be at your very best.”
Just one week before falling to North Hall, the Lady Rebels opened region play against rival Union County. The Lady Panthers were able to escape Fannin County High School with a 2-point victory, giving Fannin their first loss in region play. After falling to North Hall and then Dawson County, the season that started so well has begun to take a turn in the wrong direction.
“Dawson County was probably the best team we’ve faced all year,” Suzianne Pass answered when asked about their tough schedule. “Pickens (who was undefeated at the time of our interview) was really good, too, though; and so was North Hall.”
Pickens, North Hall, Dawson County and Union have a combined record of 20-6, with two of those losses coming from favorites to win the state championship in their respective classes.
As the Lady Rebels prepared to regroup this week, coach Pass shed light on some of the positives coming out of their strength of schedule.
“Our girls have come a long way this season,” Pass shared. “They’re beginning to understand the role they each play on the court. I’ve had some heart-to-heart conversations and they know what they have to do. They want to do it.”
As far as the depth chart goes, there was optimism in that area as well.
“We just got one of our experienced players back from injury, and we’ve been waiting on one of our girls who hurt herself early in the year. She should be back soon, hopefully the first of the year.”
When Towns County came to Fannin, the Lady Rebels were motivated and hungry for a win. Towns County showed great tenacity and played hard, but the Rebels would not be denied.
The Lady Rebels led 25-12 at halftime, 44-24 at the end of the third. They would maintain the 20 point lead they held over the Lady Indians as they went on to score a huge victory 53-33.
Hope Franklin led the Lady Rebels offense with 15 points in the game, due mostly to her ability to get in the paint and pull rebounds out of the air at will. Franklin was an unstoppable force under the bucket.
If Franklin was Batman, Makenzie McClure would have to be Robin.
McClure shared Franklin’s desire for rebounds and the two worked better together than peanut butter and jelly. All jokes aside, McClure had a great game, scoring 9 points in the win and earning some big praise from the head coach.
“Makenzie is playing better and better, game after game this year,” Pass told TeamFYNSports. “Maleah Stepp played really well, too, and she hit a big 3 [point basket] in the first quarter when Towns was playing us pretty close.
Stepp finished with 9 points in the win as well.
Maddie Johnson, who could be seen streaking from one end of the floor to the other, was the key ball handler for the Lady Rebels. She took the point and set up the offense and pushed the ball up and down the floor at an urgent, but controlled pace throughout the game. She scored only 3 points offensively, but her performance outweighs the scorebook 10-to-1.
The Lady Rebels (5-4, 0-3) head to White County (7-4, 0-1) and then return to the road Friday afternoon to play Hayesville (NC) before breaking for the Christmas holiday.
“I looked at the schedule this week and thought, why did I schedule us two away games right before Christmas?” Pass said with a chuckle. She went on to explain the fear of her girls’ conditioning and the upcoming Holiday tournament.
“They’re in great shape this time of year but if they were to take this whole week off they would have a tough time playing a three day tournament next week.”
TeamFYNSports looks forward to continuing to cover the Fannin County Lady Rebels as their season progresses. Follow us on twitter @TeamFYNSports and on facebook at www.facebook.com/teamfynsports for all of your local North Georgia sports coverage.
BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Tragedy brought to the forefront this week a charity that has rarely been spotlighted in our community. Some had heard of The Open Arms Home for Children, but because of the nature of the charity and the need for privacy, awareness of this cause is often overshadowed.
A call came in at 8:36 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 26, that the home for Open Arms was on fire, and emergency responders rushed to the scene. All of the girls housed at the Open Arms facility, as well as the staff, were able to make it out safely, but the home and personal belongings were devastatingly damaged.
State investigators determined that the fire was intentionally set, and Captain Justin Turner with the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that a juvenile was in custody. The investigation remains open as more details emerge about the fire.
Peter Knutzen, vice president of Open Arms, did confirm, “A couple of girls involved with the fire, that were in the home, are no longer in the home.”
As with many tragedies, there is a beautiful outpouring of support and love shown in the aftermath. This has been the case with the Open Arms disaster and the support of the community in the wake of the devastation.
“The first responders, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), DFACS (Division of Family and Children Services), and the general community of Blue Ridge and Blairsville and the surrounding area has done an incredible job of responding.” Knutzen began when questioned about the response of the community.
Wal-Mart of Blue Ridge helped the night of the fire with getting the girls the essentials needed for the following days. During their weekly luncheon, the Rotary Club of Blue Ridge, the Blue Ridge Lodging Association, as well as individuals and separate companies, announced monetary donations to be made to The Open Arms Home for Children.
Knutzen showed happiness as he recognized everyone coming together to support this cause. When talking about individuals who have offered help, Knutzen said, “Marines, guys that work with Toys for Tots, they’re going to go up and get everything out of the shed. Rakes, lawnmowers, everything that was not burnt and secure it.”
Knutzen, though deeply saddened by the recent events, displayed optimism when discussing the girls in their care and the future of Open Arms. “These girls are in crisis. They come from crisis. So for them, they are resilient in many ways. We have a wonderful group of girls with us right now,” Knutzen said.
As for how the girls are doing, Knutzen explained, “They feel let down because of what happened. The anxiety now is what happens next. We are assuring them, the best we can, that they are going to stay together. The girls find this home, the home they want to be at.”
Shortly after this interview, word did come from DFACS that the girls would be able to stay together, relieving one of the many obstacles to be faced in the process of rebuilding. In an update on the Open Arms Facebook page, the good news was announced:
“Thanks to DFACS, our girls will remain here together and will continue schooling and extra-cirricular activities in Fannin County. This is a true blessing and for sure an answer to our prayers.”
While the days, weeks, and months to come will be a struggle to this charity as they replace and rebuild, Open Arms would like to the community to know how much their continued support means and how grateful they are. “We have an incredible community that has, and always, responds to crisis,” Knutzen concluded.
If you would like to make a donation or learn more about The Open Arms Home for Children please visit their website at www.oahome.org. Donations can also be made at several locations in Blue Ridge and Blairsville. These locations include: United Community Bank (Main Branch), Blue Ridge Cotton Company and Gather (East Main Street, Blue Ridge), Blue Ridge Cotton Company (Blairsville), Harry Norman Realtors (West Main Street, Blue Ridge) and Old Toccoa Farms (Mineral Bluff).
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- Union County Schools will be CLOSED Monday, September 11th and Tuesday, September 12th due to Gov. Nathan Deal declaring a state of emergency for all 159 counties in Georgia. Please continue to monitor here for further updates.
- Fannin County Schools will be closed for students and all personnel on Monday, September 11 and Tuesday, September 12, for students, as well as all faculty and staff, except for 12-month personnel, district directors, and principals. As long as it is safe to do so, all 12-month personnel, as well as district directors and principals, should anticipate reporting by 9:00 a.m. on September 12. These personnel should note, though, that this expectation may be revised, depending on the weather conditions overnight; nonetheless, if you ever believe it is unsafe to report, please notify your immediate supervisor. In addition, the Board of Education work session meeting that was scheduled for 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 12, has been cancelled. Please continue to stay safe!
- Pickens County Schools closed Monday, September 11th – TWELVE MONTH EMPLOYEES REPORT AT NORMAL TIME. Schools will also be closed on Tuesday, September 12. Twelve month employees will be contacted late Monday as to whether they will be required to come to work on Tuesday. All school activities, including athletic events and after-school programs, will be canceled.
- Gilmer County Schools will be closed Monday, September 11th and Sepember 12th due to Hurricane Irma. We have made this decision after consultation with local emergency management authorities and careful consideration of safety factors, such as the probability of severe winds especially at higher elevations, debris, dangerous road conditions and downed power lines left in its wake. Only 12 month staff should report if safe to do so.
- Dawson County Schools will be closed on Monday, September 11, and Tuesday, September 12, 2017. Twelve month employees will operate on a 2 hour delay.
- Lumpkin County Schools closed due to the weather forecast for our area, Lumpkin County Schools will be closed on Monday, September 11, and Tuesday, September 12, 2017. The anticipated high winds pose a significant threat to our students and staff. We understand that weather predictions are not always accurate, but we cannot ignore the potentially dangerous situation that this storm poses. Our number one priority is to keep our students and staff safe! Wednesday will still be a early release day as planned so that teachers will be available for parent conferences. 12 month employees should report if it is safe to do so.
- Towns County Schools closed Monday, September 11th and Tuesday, September 12th for all students. All employees should report at 10:00 AM on Tuesday, September 12th if safe to do so.
- White County Schools due to the severe weather forecast, White County Schools are closed for students and staff Monday, September 11, and Tuesday, September 12, 2017. Please be safe!
- Murray County Schools closed Monday September 11 and Tuesday September 12, due to the possible impact of Hurricane Irma. We have made this decision after consultation with local emergency management authorities and careful consideration of safety factors, such as the probability of severe winds, debris, dangerous road conditions, and downed power lines. We understand that weather predictions are often incorrect, but the size of this storm cannot be ignored. It is our hope that Murray County is spared from any of this storm’s impact, but we will always choose to error on the side of caution. All events planned for Monday and Tuesday evenings are also cancelled. This includes the September 11 MCPS Board meeting. This meeting will be rescheduled for Thursday, September 14 at 6:15 p.m. All maintenance, grounds crew, and transportation employees will meet at the transportation office.
* Union County Schools will be CLOSED Monday, September 11th, 2017 due to Gov. Nathan Deal declaring a state of emergency for all 159 counties in Georgia. Please continue to monitor here for further updates.
- Fannin County Schools will be closed for students and all personnel on Monday, September 11.A great deal of consideration has been given to this decision. Governor Deal has us under a State of Emergency. Severe weather conditions, such as severe winds (especially at higher elevations), debris, dangerous road conditions, and downed power lines are all possible for our area beginning tomorrow(Monday) morning.Weather predictions are not always accurate, but this storm is massive and cannot be ignored. It is my hope that our community is spared from this, but it is better to err on the side of caution when safety is in question. Please stay safe!
- Pickens County Schools closed Jasper, Georgia — Due to inclement weather conditions,the Pickens County School District will be closed tomorrow, Monday, September 11th – TWELVE MONTH EMPLOYEES REPORT AT NORMAL TIME. Schools will also be closed on Tuesday, September 12. Twelve month employess will be contacted late Monday as to whether they will be required to come to work on Tuesday. All school activities, including athletic events and after-school programs, will be canceled. Information will be posted on the Pickens County School District website at www.pickenscountyschools.org, the Infinite Campus parent portal, district and school websites and social media sites, and sent to local media.
* Gilmer County Schools closed Release from Gilmer County School School Closed – Monday, September 11, 2017Gilmer County Schools will be closed Monday September 11 due to Hurricane Irma. We have made this decision after consultation with local emergency management authorities and careful consideration of safety factors, such as the probability of severe winds especially at higher elevations, debris, dangerous road conditions and downed power lines left in its wake. We understand that weather predictions are not always accurate, but this storm is massive and cannot be ignored. It is our hope that our community is spared from the force of this storm, but we will always choose to err on the side of caution when our students’ safety is in question.
* Dawson County Schools Closed Based on information from the NWS, Dawson County Schools will be closed on Monday, September 11, 2017. Twelve month employees report.
* Lumpkin County Schools Closed Due to the weather forecast for our area, Lumpkin County Schools will be closed on Monday, September 11, 2017. The anticipated high winds pose a significant threat to our students and staff. We understand that weather predictions are not always accurate, but we cannot ignore the potentially dangerous situation that this storm poses. Our number one priority is to keep our students and staff safe! Decisions for future closings will be made as more information becomes available. Thank you for supporting Lumpkin County Schools!
* Towns County Schools will be closed Monday for all students and staff. A decision about Tuesday will be made tomorrow afternoon.
* White County Schools Closed Due to the severe weather forecast, White County Schools are closed for students and staff Monday, September 11, 2017. Please be safe!
* Murray County Schools Closed Murray County Schools will be closed Monday September 11 and Tuesday September 12, due to the possible impact of Hurricane Irma. We have made this decision after consultation with local emergency management authorities and careful consideration of safety factors, such as the probability of severe winds, debris, dangerous road conditions, and downed power lines. We understand that weather predictions are often incorrect, but the size of this storm cannot be ignored. It is our hope that Murray County is spared from any of this storm’s impact, but we will always choose to error on the side of caution. All events planned for Monday and Tuesday evenings are also cancelled. This includes the September 11 MCPS Board meeting. This meeting will be rescheduled for Thursday, September 14 at 6:15 p.m. All maintenance, grounds crew, and transportation employees will meet at the transportation office.
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Christmas Puppet Show Announced
The Mountain Regional Puppet Company has announced their show dates for the upcoming Christmas season. The show will debut at the new Mountain Regional Library in Young Harris on December 13, then travel to all the other branches during the remaining week. The show features three classic children’s Christmas books. Animals are featured in Bear Stays Up for Christmas and A Wish to be a Christmas Tree. And then the show finishes with an interpretation of Raymond Briggs’ famous story entitled The Snowman.
In 2016, staff members of the Mountain Regional Library formed a production troupe dedicated to puppet performance. Led by Library Director Vince Stone, this group scripts, choreographs, and performs professional level puppet shows for our community.
The main purpose of these productions is to use puppetry as a creative means to promote literacy and the library. This year’s Christmas production was sponsored by a generous gift from the Friends of Union County Library.
FOUCL president Sally Woodworth says, “We are so proud to help fund this exciting program for our community. The team at Mountain Regional does a wonderful job incorporating books and storytelling in such a unique and entertaining fashion. There are almost as many adults in attendance as there are children. If you haven’t seen them, please come.”
“An innovative aspect of our production is the use of video,” says Stone. “One of the largest challenges in puppetry is making scenic backgrounds and backdrops. By having a huge TV on the back portion
of our stage, we can put the puppets in any setting…a forest, an ocean, a house. Doesn’t matter. This helps the story come alive.”
The 2016 Christmas Show Dates
Mountain Regional Library @ 5 p.m. December 13
Fannin County Public Library @ 5 p.m. December 15
Union County Library @ 11. a.m. December 17
Towns County Library @ 5 p.m. December 19
This show is appropriate for all ages and is free to the public.