CONYERS - Cedar Shoals came, saw and conquered Tuesday night by sweeping Rockdale on its home court.
In the boys games, the Bulldogs were upset 64-58 for their second loss of the season. The Lady Bulldogs blew a 13-point lead to fall 58-56 on a last-second layup.
Cedar Shoals 64, Rockdale 58
The Jaguars snapped the Bulldogs' seven-game winning streak by upsetting them at home in a tough nail-biter.
"My team learned that when you don't practice well, you don't play well," Rockdale coach Alvin Williams said. "This is our exam time, and (Monday) we had the worst practice we've had all year."
As a result, Rockdale (7-2) suffered its first region crossover loss of the season.
"I learned who can follow instructions and who can't," Williams said. "I also learned who steps it up when it gets tough and who doesn't. But I think they were a little tired. With kids it's weird; any time you take them out of their routine, you never know what you're going to get, so I think that had something to do it.
"The other thing was we played a good basketball team (tonight). They've just about beaten everybody we've beat this year. That was big for their confidence and a mental loss for us."
Poor execution on both ends of the floor took the Bulldogs out of their game early. Furthermore, several key players got into early foul trouble.
"That took us out of our game plan defensively somewhat," Williams said. "That was a factor, and we never could get back to what we wanted to do."
Rockdale sophomore Kevin Ware had a team-high 17 points. Freshman Darien Clark added 12 points and 12 rebounds, including three blocks.
Cedar Shoals 58, Rockdale 56
With seconds to go and in heart-wrenching fashion, the Lady Bulldogs lost after a Ladondra Johnson hit a game-winning layup off a missed free throw.
Cedar Shoals trailed throughout the remainder of the game. Its previous lead (9-8) came with 1:55 left in the first quarter after a field goal by Santerica Scott.
But it was short-lived after a basket by Rockdale's Chelsea Patterson. And after a last-second 12-footer off the glass by Brianna Lawrence, the Lady Bulldogs led 13-9 after the first stanza.
Rockdale (1-7) increased its advantage to 10 points at halftime with a 28-18 lead thanks to the play of Porshia McCray. She scored all nine of her points and grabbed six boards in the second quarter on 4-of-6 shooting, sinking the final three baskets for the Lady Bulldogs before the half.
Rockdale had its biggest lead of the night at 28-15 with two minutes left in the second quarter.
However, the Lady Jaguars cut the deficit to 46-40 after scoring 22 points in the third frame on 8-of-14 shooting (57 percent). Johnson was 4 of 4 from the field, scoring eight of her team-high 14 points in the third.
With the gradual momentum swing favoring Cedar Shoals entering the fourth quarter, Rockdale played not to lose rather than playing to win. The Lady Bulldogs committed 15 turnovers in the final eight minutes, which led to 10 points.
Down 56-54 with 10.6 seconds remaining, Ahsha Allen tied the game with a layup that drew contact, putting her at the line. After the missed free throw, Johnson avoided the box out for the game-winning tip-in.
Rockdale's Miasia Burks led all scorers with 18 points, including two 3-pointers and four rebounds.
Lauren Stewart added 10 points and seven boards, including two blocks, for the Lady Bulldogs. Aselah Mazone had six points and 10 rebounds.
Jason Murdock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.