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Athlete of the Week: Well-rounded Carnes steps up for Gainesville
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Jaymee Carnes feels like she’s settling right in.

With 40 varsity games under her belt, the Gainesville High sophomore forward says that she’s just now feeling confident in her abilities on the basketball court on a nightly basis.

Last week, she displayed those abilities, leading the sixth-ranked Lady Red Elephants (14-4, 4-0 Region 7B-AAA) to two victories.

In Tuesday’s 61-42 win against Johnson, the 6-foot-2 forward scored 21 points and pulled down six rebounds. She continued her strong play in the Lady Red Elephant’s 41-26 victory against Flowery Branch last Friday with 21 points, shooting 9-of-10 from the field, and four blocks.

To date, Carnes is averaging a double-double with nearly 20 points per game, and 11 rebounds per game.

"We played so well as a team the past few games that the scores weren’t close," Carnes said. "I didn’t have the best performances because I have a bad habit of when the game isn’t close to not keep the intensity up, so that’s something I need to work on.

"But I had 21 and 20 and that was playing guard some too, so I can’t complain."

Carnes admits that she enjoys being the go-to player.

"When I first started playing varsity, it was kind of overwhelming," she said. "But when I realized that I could make things happen, I liked being that player that I knew everyone wanted to go to.

"I’ve just kind of gotten used to it now, and I plan to keep working hard so I can keep being the go-to player."

Gainesville coach Manson Hill said that he and the Lady Red Elephants coaching staff have been pleasantly surprised with Carnes’ improvement.

"Jaymee is an extremely hard worker," Hill said. "She’s been playing really well and improving a lot lately. She has been working on all aspects of her game, and her defense and
rebounding have really came around as of late.

"We all like the fact that she’s becoming a well-rounded basketball player."

Carnes said that she really likes playing at a school that is filled with so much tradition.

"At first, I didn’t know with a new system and new coaching," Carnes said. "But coach Hill is so smart, and he’s made me so much smarter about the game. It’s a big deal playing behind players like Tasha Humphrey (now at Georgia), but it makes me work harder."

The talented sophomore admits that she still has a lot to work on if she wants to continue playing basketball at the next level.

"I really want to play at Georgia because I want to stay close to home," Carnes said. "Me and coach Hill have talked a bunch that I’ll probably have to play (small forward) at the next level. At this level I can play post, but at the next level I probably won’t be able to. So I need to get a lot better at handling the ball outside and being a guard."

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