Rockdale boys come back to beat Druid Hills

ATLANTA -- Late in the third quarter of its Tuesday game at Druid Hills, the Rockdale boys basketball team looked headed for its third consecutive defeat. But the final nine minutes of the game belonged to the visitors from Conyers.

LaRonte Parks scored nine points and C.J. Wilson had five points and three assists in the fourth quarter as Rockdale erased a nine-point, second-half deficit to win 55-48 in Region 2-AAAAAA play.

Rockdale evened its region record at 1-1, while the hosts dropped their third straight league game to fall to 0-3.

Druid Hills led 42-33 after a steal and field goal by Jacob King with 1:05 to play in the third quarter. The host Red Devils picked up a technical foul a few second later, and that's when Rockdale began to mount its comeback. Parks and Wilson, who led Rockdale with 14 and 13 points, respectively, each hit a pair of free throws in the final minute of the quarter to make it 42-37, and while Druid Hills went 3:44 without a point, the Bulldogs went on an 11-0 run and led 44-42 with 6:13 left in the game.

A minute later, Wilson found Connor Ferrell and Ferrell scored the last of his 11 points on a pretty baseline jumper. That gave Rockdale the lead for good at 46-44, and though Druid Hills got back within two points on two other occasions, Wilson and Parks combined to go 4-of-5 from the free-throw line over the final 1:20 to seal the win.

It was a game of spurts heading into the final quarter. Both teams struggled in the first, but as Rockdale went over five minutes without a point, Druid Hills' 14-4 run, aided by a dunk from Clarence Williams (game-high 17 points), a three-pointer by Kyle Simmons and a layup from King gave the Red Devils their largest lead at 26-16 late in the second.

It was Rockdale's turn to make a run and the Bulldogs tied the game at 26-26 with 10 straight points that ended with Darryle Tucker's put back at the 5:08 mark of the third.

Druid Hills then scored 16 of the next 23 points to build its 42-33 cushion. But the hosts could only muster two field goals over the final nine minutes.

Rockdale hosts county rival Salem on Friday with tip time scheduled for 8:30 p.m.