Former Lakeside standout Nichole Bennett has signed to play basketball at USC-Aiken. Bennett, a 5-9 guard, wrapped up a stellar career at Lakeside in 2002.
While at Lakeside, she was a three-year starter and a two-time All-Columbia County first team performer.
She has spent the last two years at Seminole Community College in Sanford, Fla. Bennett has started each of the last two seasons for the Lady Raiders.
She was also the team's captain both seasons. Bennett averaged eight points, three rebounds and two assists per game.
Bennett was selected as a Mid-Florida All Conference performer as a sophomore and was named to the Mid-Florida All-Academic Team during both of her seasons at Seminole.
Not only will Bennett be playing close to home, she will also be joining one of the Peach Belt's most successful programs over the last few seasons.
In 2003-04, the Lady Pacers were 14-14, but they were a combined 63-26 the previous three years. Also, USC-Aiken was 30-5 in conference play in 2000-01 and 2001-02. Bennett is a versatile player who should have an immediate impact for Mike Brandt's team.
Shanks Still in Greensboro
Former Greenbrier star James Shanks is continuing to have his big-league dreams. The athletic centerfielder is in the Florida Marlins farm system after being released by the Kansas City Royals.
The move by K.C. Came as a shock to most baseball insiders who felt like Shanks was on the verge of "the show." Shanks has not let the setback hold him down.
He quickly began talking to teams and inked a contract with the defending champs. The move may have reinvigorated Shanks. Coming in to a recent trip home to play the GreenJackets, Shanks was hitting a team best .340 (36 for 106). He also had three homers, eight doubles, 14 RBIs and eight stolen bases.
Those numbers are pretty impressive for a guy who has only played in 28 games. His trip to Augusta is off to a rough start. Through the first two games with the GreenJackets (both Jackets victories), Shanks is 0 for 8, and his average has dropped to .316.
If I were a betting man, I would put some money on Shanks being promoted sometime very soon. If not, he and his Greensboro teammates come back to Augusta June 22-24.
Former Jones Creek Head Pro Has New Post
Brent Smithers has been hired by The First Tee of Augusta as their new head golf professional. Smithers spent 11 years in Columbia County, first as an assistant pro at West Lake Country Club then as the head pro and general manager at Jones Creek Golf Club.
After Smithers was named general manager, he hired Greg Heman as the head pro after Jones Creek's new ownership group took over the general manager's position was eliminated.
Smithers chose to stay in the area, and when a spot opened at First Tee, Smithers was a ideal choice. Smithers will be terrific working with the young people in this program.
He is an excellent instructor and has the patience and mentality it will take to be successful at First Tee. In my opinion, they made a great move in hiring Smithers.
All-County Baseball Team Coming Soon
The All-County Baseball Team will be in the Sunday, June 20 edition of The News-Times. All Columbia County baseball coaches are asked to have all of their end of the year statistical information submitted by Tuesday, June 15. You can fax your info to 650-0610 or e-mail to email@example.com.
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