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High school notebook: Hall County golf championship approaches
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Throughout the course of a high school golf season, only one meet has any state championship implications - the region tournament.

But for Hall County school teams, the Hall County Championship is as big of a regular season meet as it gets.

This year's county championship is Monday and Tuesday at Royal Lakes Golf & Country Club.

"It's become important to our kids," said Johnson boys coach Jeff Steele, whose Knights have won the last three county titles. "There's hype amongst the kids and they really enjoy it."

The match is in its 24th year, with Gainesville's boys winning 16 times, and North Hall and Johnson winning it three times each.

On the girls' side, Gainesville has won all but the 2007 championship, which went to Johnson.

"It's something you look to as a special week," Lady Red Elephants coach Clay McDonald said. "At the same time, you want to treat all meets the same so you don't look past on or forward to one single event.

"It's about playing the course every time, keeping in perspective one shot at a time."

Schools will compete on a Royal Lakes course that can be visually intimidating.

"The course is laid out well in terms of forcing you to hit good golf shots," Steele said. "It's important to understand the best places to play from, and where you don't want to be.

"Another challenge tends to be uneven lies, with elevation and angulation changes."

BASEBALL SEASON TAKING SHAPE: It's early in the season, but already the region races are starting to take off. In Region 8-AAA, Oconee County leads the way with a 4-1 record. Gainesville, North Hall, Stephens County and Walnut Grove stand at 3-1, and Franklin County is at 3-2.

In 8B-AA, perennial playoff contender Jefferson is in fourth place, with North Oconee on top at 3-0. Region 8A-AA began subregion play this week, with Fannin County, Banks County and Union County all winning its openers.

STILL ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: The 7-0 Knights, ranked No. 3 in Class AAA, and are having a lot of fun on the soccer field while winning.

On Tuesday against East Hall, they spent a good chunk of the game inside the penalty box creating good looks in what easily could have been a higher scoring game than the 3-0 final.

But finishing those scoring opportunities is what Knights coach Brian Shirley would like to see.

"We just have to get back to the basics," he said. "Sometimes we do more than we should, and a lot of that is kids pressing themselves and trying to take game the in their hands instead of using teammates.

"That's happened a couple times and we'll take care of that."

Regional events