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Rockdale boys fall to Lovejoy

CONYERS -- After a hot start in Region 2-AAAAAA play, the Rockdale boys basketball team is finding that life in its new league can at times be difficult.

Deangelo Anthony had 21 points and four assists and Mike Harden added 15 points as Lovejoy defeated Rockdale 74-59 on Tuesday in Conyers.

The Bulldogs, who began the region schedule 4-1, have lost their last two league games after falling to Luella on Friday. Lovejoy moved to 3-4 in region play.

Connor Ferrell was held to just one point through the game's first 24 minutes but hit a 3-pointer that banked in at the third-quarter buzzer. Ferrell kept it going at the start of the fourth, scoring six quick points to get Rockdale within 54-49 with 5:29 left.

Harden and Anthony made consecutive field goals, and though Darius Mitchell made it a 58-52 game with a three-pointer -- part of the senior's team-high 15 points -- Lovejoy's lead didn't shrink below the six-point mark the rest of the way.

It looked as if the Clayton County school might run away with the game early in the third. Anthony assisted on a bucket by Tajh Williams, then Anthony scored six straight points to cap a 12-1 run and give the Wildcats their largest lead of the night at 44-26 with just less than six minutes left in the quarter.

Instead, the host Bulldogs went on a run of their own, scoring the next 10 points -- six on a pair of 3-pointers from LaRonte Parks -- to make it a 44-36 game.

It was a 12-point game after Williams found Harden for a basket, then Ferrell hit his buzzer-beater to send the game to the final period at 50-41.

Lovejoy had a pair of runs in the opening half. The visitors trailed early 6-4 on a bucket by Mitchell, but thanks to baskets from three different players, the Wildcats scored nine consecutive points and went up 13-6 midway through the first.

Rockdale got to within two on a field goal by Frank Emeka with 2:16 left in the first, but Lovejoy scored the next 13 points to grab its biggest lead of the half at 26-11.

It was 32-19 when Rockdale tried to get closer before the break. Darryle Tucker scored off a pass from Parks, Cameron Rivers had a putback and Mitchell scored the final of his eight first-half points on a pair of free throws to cut it to 32-25 with 1:23 left.

But consecutive field goals by Williams and Jahir Cabeza with a minute to play sent Lovejoy into the locker room up 36-25.

Anthony and Harden weren't alone in picking up the key road win as Williams added 13 points and nine rebounds and Jurmichale Ramos chipped in with nine points and six rebounds. For Rockdale, Parks added 12 points and Ferrell had 10.