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Athlete of the week: Carnes dominates Lanierland
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Gainesville girls basketball coach Manson Hill discusses the success of his junior forward, Jaymee Carnes.

Honorable mentions

Shunquez Stephens, West Hall: Was named Lanierland boys all-tournament MVP after a 14-point performance last Friday.

Haughton Carswell, Lakeview Academy: 15 points against North Hall last Friday.

Ethan Satterfield, North Hall: 17 points against Lakeview Academy last Friday.

McKenna Rushton, North Hall: 13 points against East Hall last Thursday.

Jessica Harper, Flowery Branch: 16 points against North Hall last Friday.

Darius Minor, Jefferson: 15 points against Commerce last Friday.

Cheyenne Bennett, Dawson County: 10 points and 10 rebounds against Creekview on Friday.

Jacob Evans, Dawson County: 12 points, 13 rebounds against White County last Tuesday.

Ashely Lowery, White County: 21 points against Union County last Friday.

Kevin Daniel, Banks County: Averaged 15 points against in two games last week.

Chase Armour, Banks County: 18 points against Union County last Tuesday.

Kane Duncan, Banks County: 15 points against Union county last Tuesday.

Devaris Finch, Johnson: 19 points against Lakeview Academy last Thursday.

Amber Dodd, Habersham Central: 21 points against Loganville last Friday.

Blanche Alverson, Buford: 14 points against Avondale last Tuesday.

Dylen Setzekorn, Riverside Military: 15 points against East Jackson last Tuesday.

Ashley Brown, Lumpkin County: 20 points and eight rebounds against Wet Forsyth on Tuesday.

Cara Malone, Lumpkin County: 14 points, four assists, four steals and three rebounds against West Forsyth last Tuesday.

If Gainesville High’s Jaymee Carnes hadn’t already established herself as one of the county’s top scorers entering last week’s Lanierland Tournament, she did afterwards.

Carnes was named the C.W. Davis MVP on Saturday after leading the Lady Red Elephants to a 55-40 win over East Hall in the championship game to claim their first Lanierland title since 2005. The award, named after Lanierland’s founder, is given to the tournament’s most valuable player.

“She was very excited, it (winning Lanierland) was something she really wanted to do,” Gainesville coach Manson Hill said. “That was a goal of hers, she didn’t want to go through her career without winning Lanierland.”

The honor was well-deserved. In the tournament finals against the Lady Vikings, the junior scored a game-high 28 points, had 16 rebounds and added six blocks. Before that, she scored a previous game-high 19 points in the semifinals and 16 in the tournament opener.

“Her effort in the game was champion-like,” Hill said. “She made a big different in the end. It was just a very outstanding effort.”

Carnes’ performance in Lanierland has become the norm this season and most of her career. Even as a freshman at Chestatee, where she averaged 19.9 points and 10.1 rebounds per game and was named to The Times All-Area first team.

Her numbers were just as impressive her sophomore year, when she debuted with Gainesville (4-1). She averaged 19 points and nine rebounds per game, blocked 78 shots, and helped the Lady Red Elephants win a region title. Her efforts also earned her The Times 2008 Girls Basketball Player of the Year recognition, and she was named to the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s All-State team.

“She’s an elite player, they don’t let you be all-state for nothing,” Hill said. “She plays the game the way it’s supposed to be.

“She plays hard in big games, she plays hard in little games.”

The beginning of this season hasn’t been the least bit different from the previous two, and Gainesville’s opponents are paying for it. Through five games, Carnes is averaging 18.4 points per game, and has scored in double figures in every game this season.

She also celebrated a career milestone earlier this season, scoring her 1,000th career point in a 45-43 loss to Franklin County on Dec. 2.

Although Carnes’ career points total when she graduates probably won’t approach the school record of 2,663 points set by current Washington Mystic forward Tasha Humphrey, another strong season after this one will still put her among Gainesville’s finest basketball players.

“We’ve been fortunate to have seven all-state players and Jaymee is one of them,” Hill said. “I think that barring injury, she’ll be all-state again this year. The only other player we’ve had that was all-state more than twice was Tasha.”

And like Humphrey, Carnes has the opportunity to play basketball at the next level. At 6 feet tall, she has the size and the scoring ability to be a prospect for college teams. Even as a junior, she has received letters of interest from several schools around the country.

“She would like to play somewhere in the South,” Hill said. “There are a lot of schools showing interest, but she wants to stay focused at getting better right now.”

That’s not something Gainesville opponents want to hear. With another year of basketball left after this one, Carnes still has plenty of time to dominate area teams before moving on to the next level.

“She’s constantly looking to add to her game,” Hill said. “We’ll come to her with something we want her to learn, and usually within a week she’s accomplished it.”

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