DAHLONEGA, GA – The North Georgia men's and women's basketball teams are set to host cross-town rival Young Harris College on New Year's Eve, setting up a doubleheader on the hardwood in Memorial Hall to ring in 2011.
While the Saints and Lady Saints have over 40 years of basketball tradition in the history books, the Mountain Lions of Young Harris are embarking on their first season of competitive basketball since 1969, setting up what should be a local rival for many years to come.
The Lady Saints are coming off a two-week break since their last game, but are winners in seven of their last eight games, including a 58-55 come-from-behind victory over Newberry College on December 16.
Head coach Buffie Burson has North Georgia with an 8-2 mark heading into Friday's matchup against Young Harris, a team they dominated 64-39 over a month ago at the YHC Basketball Arena.
The Lady Saints are led by sophomore Janyce Ealey who sits tied for fourth in the Peach Belt Conference at 17.1 points per game, while shooting 44-percent from the field and pulling down over eight rebounds per contest. Junior forward Lindsey Moss has caught fire as of late, averaging 21.6 points and nine rebounds in the last three games, including a season-high 26-point performance against Reinhardt College in a 34-point victory.
While the North Georgia men's basketball team sits four games under the .500 mark at 2-6, they have taken every game down to the wire, dropping their last five contests by a combined 20 points with pair of the losses coming in overtime.
The Saints have played a road-heavy schedule the first two months of the season, tipping off just one time in Memorial Hall, a game that turned into a 14-point victory over Hiwassee College.
Senior Carl Taylor has continued to impress this year, scoring double digits in all eight games this season, including a season-high 31 points at Anderson in a 102-98 overtime loss to the Trojans. Taylor hit eight three-pointers in the defeat and finished 47-percent from the field. Elijah Smith and Clarence Tillman continue to add a steady offensive presence as the duo both average double figures and combine to produce nearly 27 points per game.
Heading into Friday afternoon's game, the Saints will look to avenge an early-season loss at Young Harris, a game North Georgia battled back late before dropping a 78-68 affair to the Mountain Lions. The 10-point loss has turned out to be North Georgia's largest margin of defeat this season as the Saints will look to get things turned around on the final day of the 2010 calendar year.
The women's game is slated to start at 2:00 p.m., followed by the men's tip-off at 4:00 p.m. in Memorial Hall in Dahlonega. Both games will broadcast live on the Saints Broadcast Network with live stats on www.SaintsSports.com courtesy of the North Georgia Sports Communications office.