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Heritage entertains Bulldogs in key hoops conest

CONYERS - Pretenders or contenders - which basketball teams in 8-AAAA South are for real?

After tonight, the picture will be clearer.

Subregion play continues today, headlined by yet another crosstown matchup - Salem at Heritage - while Rockdale welcomes Monroe Area.

The Salem girls (17-2 overall) are undefeated in subregion play at 3-0, while Heritage sits at 1-2. But records are tossed aside when comparing these teams on paper.

"I think we need to go in focused and play like it's just another game," Salem coach Bill Roberts said. "We can't lose focus. We've got to stay on the course and play our game. We can't get too overly excited."

The Heritage boys (12-6) are coming off perhaps their biggest win of the season, a 57-50 victory over Loganville. The Patriots are now second in 8-AAAA South at 2-1.

"That was a real good win for us," Heritage coach Ron Bradley said after the game. "It was a real good battle, and I felt real good about our team."

Meanwhile, Salem (5-14) is still searching for its first win in the subregion. Even at 0-3, a win could easily shake things up in the standings heading toward the postseason.

On the other hand, the Rockdale boys (13-6) look to remain perfect in subregion play against Monroe Area. The Bulldogs are the subregion's only undefeated team at 3-0.

However, Rockdale is coming off its first loss of 2009, an 87-77 decision to Stephenson on Saturday afternoon. Still, the Bulldogs are the clear favorite over the Purple Hurricanes, who are fourth in the subregion (1-2).

Despite a slow start, the Rockdale girls (3-16) have posted a 1-2 subregion record, winning at just the right time to keep them in the mix.

"We've got to be more aggressive on offense because I know we're more than decent on defense," Rockdale coach Leonard Buckner said. "We've got to polish up on rebounding and being more aggressive on offense for 32 minutes, and we'll be fine."

While the Lady Bulldogs continue to work hard on the court, a win over the Lady Hurricanes (0-3) would even their subregion record.

"Right now, we just don't have enough players with the mind set of being aggressive going to the basket," Buckner said, "and we're trying to fix that before the region tournament."

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