MADISON - The road to wins at the Sweet South Classic has been an arduous journey for Rockdale's basketball squads as the two teams have combined to go 1-3 against the competition in the first two rounds.
Both the Rockdale boys and girls stumbled in their opening games of the tourney on Thursday, losing battles to teams from Alabama. The Rockdale boys dropped a 75-48 decision to Gadsden City, while the Rockdale girls fell 54-45 to Carver-Montgomery.
On Friday, the Rockdale boys got back on the winning track with a 63-60 win over Ida Baker, Fla. Unfortunately, the Lady Bulldogs weren't as lucky, falling 55-35 to North Forsyth.
And according to Rockdale boys coach Mitchell Harris, the win against Ida Baker was still nothing to brag about.
"It was an ugly win," Harris said. "We've got to continue focusing on fundamentals."
The Bulldogs have been abysmal from the free-throw line in the tournament, hitting 9 of 21 free throws against Ida Baker and 8 of 24 against Gadsden City.
Kevin Ware led the Bulldogs (6-2) against Ida Baker, scoring 20 points. He was the only Bulldog in double figures.
Against Gadsen City, Jonathan Gissentaner led the Rockdale boys with 15 points, but once again, he was the only Bulldog to reach double digits.
"They (Gadsden City) were very physical and they put a lot of pressure on us. They were committed to playing defense," Harris said. "They were fundamentally sound. The kids were confident and they did a good job coaching them. The kids are obviously committed to what the program is trying to do."
Meanwhile, Rockdale girls coach Leonard Buckner has liked the way his team has played defensively, he just wishes they could cut down on the fouls.
Fouls cost the Lady Bulldogs (3-5) in both of the tournament losses, especially against Carver-Montgomery.
"They weren't bad. They were similar to a Salem or a Clarke Central," Buckner said. "Still, we outscored them every quarter but the third quarter. We had a rough third quarter."
Carver outscored Rockdale 21-7 in the third. A lot of that was due to the fact that Rockdale was called for 10 fouls in the frame.
The Lady Bulldogs were led by Giovanni Simms (11 points), Henrietta Carr (10 points) and Jasmine Miller (eight).
Miller and Lamonica Johnson led the offensive charge against North Forsyth with seven points apiece. Lauren Stewart added six in the loss.
"We've got to execute on offense and rebound better on defense," Buckner said. "We're playing physical right now, we've just got to do a better job of executing."
Both Rockdale squads will wrap up play in the tournament today. The Rockdale girls hit the court again at 10 a.m. and the Rockdale boys play at 2:30 p.m. against Newnan.
Brandon Evans can be reached at brandon.evans @rockdalecitizen.com.