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Rockdale splits games against Forest Park

CONYERS - Maybe it was too much turkey. Or perhaps just too much holiday excitement.

At any rate, it possibly helped one and hindered the other in regards to the Rockdale basketball squads Saturday, who split a pair of home games to Forest Park.

In the boys game, Rockdale dominated in nearly every aspect, winning in convincing style 78-38.

The Bulldogs (2-1) took advantage of a 34-point second quarter by shooting 68 percent from the field. They were 13 of 19 during that span and 6 of 7 from the free-throw line.

"They're getting there," Rockdale coach Alvin Williams said. "When you have young kids sometimes it takes a little longer to learn the system, but I think they're getting the team concept down - that's what it is."

Rockdale sophomore Kevin Ware electrified the home crowd by going 4 of 5 from the field, including a monster dunk to put his team up 31-13. He ended the night with 14 points, three steals and three blocks.

"He brings energy and really likes playing at home," Williams said.

Conversely, the Panthers shot 10 percent from the field (1 of 10) in the second frame, and trailed 54-18 at the half.

In fact, the only time Forest Park led came within the first 30 seconds of the game after Jordan Edwenbye hit a jumper to give his team a 2-0 advantage. He finished 4 of 6 from the field for 12 points.

But Julius Giles responded with a deep 3-pointer, one of three in the first quarter alone, and the Bulldogs never trailed after that.

Giles finished with a game-high 17 points.

By the end of the third quarter, Forest Park had trimmed the deficit to 62-32, yet it was still too much to overcome, especially since most of the Rockdale bench was on the court earning playing time.

"I thought we could have boxed out and rebounded a little better with some of our bench players," Williams noted.

Overall, the Bulldogs shot 48 percent from the field (27 of 56) and 86 percent from the charity stripe (18 of 21).

Their pressure proved too much for the Panthers, who were 15 of 38 (39 percent) and 14 of 23 (61 percent) respectively.

Forest Park's Brandon McCarden had a team-high 13 points. He was 4 of 8 from the field and 5 of 7 from the free-throw line.

Rockdale's Bernard Thompson added 11 points and a game-high four steals. He was also perfect at the charity stripe (6 of 6).

For the girls, failure to implement on both ends of the court eventually came back to bite the Lady Bulldogs (0-3), who lost 44-34.

Despite forcing three more turnovers (26), the Lady Bulldogs were just 12 of 52 from the field (23 percent).

"We didn't execute anything today," Rockdale coach Leonard Buckner said. "When you force that many turnovers and you still lose the game then you have to look at execution on both ends."

Thanks to three treys by Kathleen Sengsavath, who finished with 12 points, Forest Park led 21-17 at halftime.

But Rockdale put itself in a rut by going 1 of 13 from the field in the third quarter, scoring just four points compared to 12.

Forest Park's Ashley Cole had a game-high 17 points.

Miasia Burks paced Rockdale with 12 points and four steals. Aseelah Mazone added seven points and a team-high five steals.

"We didn't execute on offense or defense tonight, and that was disappointing seeing how we played close with Stephenson (Friday) night," Buckner said. "We were within six with three minutes left in the game, so for us to come out and not execute tonight was very disappointing."

Jason Murdock can be reached at jason.murdock@rockdalecitizen.com.