1998-99 FANNIN COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS BASKETBALL TEAM
Amy Bundy Hightower, Melissa Flowers, Tina Grice Bath, Jessica Holloway, Crystal Jeffers Greer, Christy Kay, Leah Nelson, Amanda Newton, Rachael Nicholson Collis, Stacy Parris, Roxie Reed Trovato, Leslie Taylor Riddoch, Jamie Thomas, Cindy Williams, Melissa Weeks (Mgr.) and Betty Jean Raper Jones (Mgr.).
-Won the Region 7AA Championship.
-Won the Georgia State girls basketball class AA Championship with a record of 29 wins and 1 loss.
-Had a regular season record of 24-1 and defeated Monroe Area, St. Pius X, Westminster, Dodge County and Putnam County (81-64) in State Tournament play to win the title. Smallest margin of victory in the State Tournament was 15 points.
When they won the 1998-99 Georgia Class AA girls state basketball championship, it was a fitting way for Fannin County High School’s Lady Rebels to conclude a spectacular four-year run of success. It is also fitting that 15 years later, the team will be inducted into the Fannin County Sports Hall of Fame’s class of 2015.
That team was Fannin’s second state champion of the decade, following the 1992-93 team that was inducted into the hall of fame last year. Those remain the only two team state championships in the history of Fannin sports. While the 1998-99 team had to wait until after their predecessor to join the hall in this year’s class, their credentials take a back seat to no one.
Both teams were coached by Fannin County Sports Hall of Fame member Johnny Farmer, who was in his19th season with the Lady Rebels when they won his second title in 1999. Long-time Fannin teacher and athletic director Eddie Payne was the assistant coach on the 1998-99 team.
If the first title hadn’t already achieved Farmer’s goal of “putting Fannin County on the map,” the ‘98-99 team left no doubt about where the capital of Georgia basketball was located.
The ‘98-99 team posted a school record for victories with their 29-1 mark. The only blemish on the season was a 64-60 loss to Pickens in the seventh game of the year. Even then, the state’s second-ranked Dragonettes barely escaped with the win despite holding a 19-point lead with four minutes left in the game. Fannin rallied to get within eight points at the 1:33 mark, and they missed on two chances to tie the game in the final seconds.
The Lady Rebels went on to win their next 23 games in a row, culminating with an 81-64 victory over Putnam County in the state championship game at the Macon Convention Center. Along the way, the Lady Rebels avenged their lone defeat to rival Pickens twice, once in a regular season overtime rematch and then with a 70-61 decision in the Region 7-AA championship game.
The region title was the third one in four years earned by the seniors on that squad. The five seniors on that team, Stacy Parris, Melissa Flowers, Leah Nelson, Roxie Reed and Tina Grice, were part of an incredible four-year run that saw them post an overall record of 103 wins and nine losses, a winning clip of 92 percent.
Parris led the 98-99 Lady Rebels in scoring with 18.5 points per game, and she had a career-high 40 points in the championship game against Putnam County. Parris will also be one of the 12 individual inductees at the Hall of Fame’s 2015 banquet in April.
Flowers averaged 12 points per game and her deadly outside shooting was a key part of the Lady Rebels’ balanced attack. She had six 3-pointers and 24 points in the team’s 68-52 win over Monroe Area in the first round of the state playoffs.
Reed was the team’s starting point guard, and she finished her career as the school’s all-time leader in assists after averaging 12 per game in the ‘98-99 season.
Nelson returned from a knee injury for her senior season, and the defensive specialist was an essential component of the Lady Rebels’ success.
Grice was the team’s most physical player, and the power forward led the team with 10 rebounds per game and was second in scoring with 15 points per game.
Junior Cindy Williams was the “sixth man” and filled in ably for inside players Nelson and Grice. She made especially critical contributions in the state title game when early foul trouble hampered the two senior starters.
Junior Amanda Newton was a key reserve at guard for the Lady Rebels, giving quality minutes while running the offense in relief of Reed or Flowers.
Other key components for the championship squad were Christy Kay, Crystal Jeffers, Jessica Holloway, Amy Bundy, Jamie Thomas, Leslie Taylor and Rachael Nicholson.
The team and the rest of the 2015 class will be officially inducted at the Fannin County Sports Hall of Fame’s banquet in April.
98-99 Girls Basketball Team Bio
Video at FCHS HOF Game
98-99 Girls Basketball Team Banquet Video