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March 6, 2013 Edition
JCHS Eagles land in Final Four
After finishing runner-up in the Region 3-A tournament, the Jenkins County High School War Eagles basketball team won backto back road games in the state tournament and found themselves in Fort Valley playing in their first Final Four in school history.
“Finish 135” was the team’s motto during this magical season.
“It’s 135 miles from Millen to Macon (where the state championship games are played) and that’s the vision we had in place for every practice and every game,” said head coach Mark Whitt. “We just came up one game short of getting there.”
The War Eagles faced five time state champion Wilkinson County in the semifinals where the Warriors pulled away late and won 81- 65. Both teams made rallies throughout the game but Wilkinson County proved to be a bit too much down the stretch. Halfway through the fourth quarter Jenkins County trailed by five, 67-62. Wilkinson County closed out the game with a 14-3 run to end the War Eagles’ season.
In order to get to the final four, Jenkins County had two teams and 820 miles in their way.
The War Eagles outscored Dooly County (Vienna) 21-10 in the fourth quarter for a 59-52 victory. The next stop was Donalsonville and the Seminole County Indians. The War Eagles made another fourth quarter comeback, outscoring the Indians 21-7 in the fourth quarter for a 75-70 victory.
Eight seniors played their last game for the blue and white on March 1; Zavondric Shingleton, Jamaine Torrence, Justin Ellis, Daniel Langston, Tyrell Brown, Lamont Ellison, Tajuan Austin and Dezmond Moran.
“In 20 years of coaching, it was the saddest locker room scene I have ever been a part of,” Whitt said. “Pain is usually physical with kids but that night the emotional pain was unbearable. That’s how much they loved representing Jenkins County.”
Over the past three seasons, most of the team members were a part of 53 wins and three state tournament appearances. The War Eagles will return Trentin Drayton, Ira Hendrix and Shequille Kelly to next year’s squad.
“The school and community support throughout the season was great,” Whitt said. “I’d tell the kids all the time to soak it in and be thankful that we have so many basketball fans in Millen.” The War Eagles finished the season with an 18-9 record.
2013-03-06 / Front Page