After starting off the new year red hot, the SHS boys’ basketball season has cooled considerably. The Bulldogs won two of their first three in 2007 and “should have won the third,” according to coach Chris Martello.

The Bulldogs were narrowly defeated in overtime to district leader Ridgeview Jan. 6, 66-62.

The Dogs followed that game by defeating the second place team, Santa Fe, in Alachua, 80-75 on Jan. 9.

After being down by as many as 17 points in the first half on a barrage of 3-point field goals (9) by the home team, the Bulldogs fought their way back just before half and in the third by going to the dominating force inside, freshman phenom Shawn Jackson, who ended the game tying his career/season high and with the game’s high - 29 points on 13 field goals.

Jackson went three for three from the free throw line. Senior Marcus Walker performed extremely well and ended the game with 21 (10 field goals and one out of four free throws).

Rounding out the scoring in the Dogs’ big win was Jay Chambers with 11 (including three 3-pointers), Alex Fountain with seven (including three for four from the line), Kwone Matthews with six, Frank Snead with three, Ryan Hight with two and Scott Butler with one.

The junior varsity lost its battle with the Raiders, 66-54. Antonio Fields continues to show his basketball prowess at the JV level, ending the game with 18. Justin Garland showed his shooting skills, hitting three 3-point baskets, ending the game with nine. Dee Hall finished with eight, Sylvester Bryant six, Sam Cherry five and Quinton Hines four. Josh Martin contributed a lone 2-point basket.

“This was a big win for the varisty tonight,” Martello said. “Our victory lets our opponents know that we are for real, that Saturday’s overtime loss to the district leader was no fluke, and that our aim is set on the district title this year.”

Martello’s comments came before some discouraging news on the academic front concerning Suwannee’s leading scorer, Shawn Jackson. (See related story, this page.)

Despite having Jackson’s services, the Bulldogs dropped the next two games after winning at Santa Fe. “We have to be more consistent,” Martello observed.

The Dogs brought its 4-4 district record into Starke Jan. 12 to face a surging district opponent. Bradford came out on top by a whopping 26, 72-46. The Tornadoes hit 23 of 31 from the free throw line and Suwannee a dismal 5 for 19 in the rout.

Despite one for nine free throw shooting, Marcus Walker ended the game with 15. Jackson had nine, Sharrod Lee eight and Kwone Matthews and Jay Chambers six apiece. Scott Butler rounded out the scoring for Suwannee with a pair.

The junior varsity made it a sweep for the home team, losing 52-42. Scorers for Suwannee were Fields with 14, Sam Cherry and Josh Martin with eight each, Lawrence Whitmore with six and James Reed and Justin Garland with three each.

On Jan. 13 the Dogs lost a close one at rival Madison, 56 - 53. Marcus Walker led all scorers with 18, going four for four from the stripe. Shawn Jackson scored 16, Frank Snead, Jr. added five, Ryan Hight and Alex Fountain four each, Jay Chambers a lone three and Sharrod Lee with a deuce.

The JV squad won an exciting contest, 54 - 49, against a good Madison team on their home court. Lawrence Whitmore contributed a solid performance with 16. Suwannee had balanced scoring for the contest with James Reed hitting eight, Brandon Raines and Antonio Fields seven, Sam Cherry and Vernon Hampton six and Josh Martin and Justin Garland two each.

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