CONYERS - One game was a rout and the other was a nail-biter as Rockdale's basketball squads collected a split with visiting Cedar Shoals on Tuesday night.
The Lady Bulldogs (4-11 overall, 0-3 in 8-AAAA South) fell behind early and never recovered as Cedar Shoals cruised to an 82-37 win in the opener.
Meanwhile, it took everything the Rockdale boys (9-6, 2-1) had to hold off a late Cedar Shoals charge and win 70-68 in the nightcap.
The Rockdale boys led by 10 as the fourth quarter began, but Cedar Shoals opened the frame with a 13-2 run and led 57-56 after Josh Irvin hit a 3-pointer with 6 minutes left to play.
Rockdale regained the lead off a 3-pointer by Cordarryl Bethly, but Cedar Shoals regained the lead off another 3-pointer by Irvin.
Fortunately for the Bulldogs, Bethly answered again with a 3-pointer to put Rockdale up 64-62.
Cedar took another lead off free throws by Casey Arnold with 3:12 left. However, a nice dish from Darius McKnight to Ryan Culbreath tied it at 66 with 1:30 left to play.
After both teams turned the ball over in the final minute, McKnight was fouled and went to the line with 24 seconds left, shooting two free throws.
McKnight made good on his free throws, completing a stellar performance on the night where he hit 10 of 11 free throws.
After Cedar Shoals missed its final shot, Bethly was fouled. Bethly hit both of his free throws to ice the game and give the Bulldogs a big win.
McKnight led all scorers with 26 points. Bethly finished with 16 points, Ryan Watts added 10 and Jonathan Gissentanner chipped in nine to round out Rockdale's top scorers.
McKnight was the catalyst in forging Rockdale's early lead. He had seven of his team's 13 points in the first quarter, including a tenacious two-hand jam that put the Bulldogs up 9-7 early.
Rockdale opened the second quarter with a 9-0 run and cruised through the entire second quarter and much of the third.
Cedar's post player, Kory Kilpatrick, spent much of the game in foul trouble. However, he ignited the Jaguars by scoring five quick points in the third quarter.
Unfortunately for the Jaguars, Kilpatrick was called for his fourth foul and an ensuing technical foul, resulting in his ejection from the game.
The girls game wasn't quite as exciting as Rockdale trailed 26-10 after the first quarter, 51-18 at the break and 69-28 after he third frame.
"We had a hard time with their press, but it really wasn't their press, we just had a lot of unforced turnovers," Rockdale coach Leonard Buckner said. "The biggest problem was that we did not get back in transition on defense."
The Rockdale girls were led by Sherry Allen, who had 11 points. Miasia Burks added six.
Brandon Evans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.