The Druid Hills girls basketball team got off to a fast start in Friday’s Region 2-AAAAAA game with Rockdale.
It was how the visitors’ finished that made the difference.
Rockdale shook off a seven-point first half deficit and dominated the final three quarters in a 50-31 victory.
The Bulldogs had a slim, 23-22 lead at halftime, but thanks to Brianna Patton scoring seven of her game-high 19 points in the third, held a 34-27 cushion with one quarter to play.
“She stepped up and she knocked down some good shots,” Rockdale coach Gladys King said of Patton.
The Bulldogs (10-7, 6-3 Region 2-AAAAAA) pulled away in the early stages of the fourth. Sojourner Hall had two of her eight points and Tamera Sanders’ three-point play were part of an 8-0 run that made it a 40-27 game with four and a half minutes remaining. Druid Hills (8-12, 0-8) made only three field goals in the second half and went 7:42 without a point over a stretch in the third and fourth quarters.
The Red Devils ended a 11-minute field goal drought on a Miracle Davies’ bucket with 23 seconds to go.
“After the first…we started playing better defense. Just being aware of who the shooters were,” King said. “We started forcing them to make shots instead of allowing them to shoot comfortably.”
Rockdale had the slumping offense early on as the visitors from Conyers had only five made field goals through the first 12:24 of the game. Rockdale finally got going late in the second quarter.
Patton had seven of her 10 first-half points and assisted on another bucket, and a 3-pointer from Casera Howard capped an 11-0 run and put the Bulldogs up 23-20 with 1:23 left until halftime.
It helped that the host Red Devils went over five minutes without a point. Druid Hills got a 3-pointer from Marian Harper with 5:24 to play in the second, then didn’t score again until Kayla Cato had a steal that led to JaTosha Hollinger’s bucket with eight seconds left in the half.
Druid Hills closed the opening quarter on a 15-5 run and held a seven-point advantage heading into the second.
Arteria Benton was the catalyst for the quarter-ending spurt, knocking down a go-ahead 3-pointer and adding two nearly-identical drives for lay ups on consecutive possessions that made it 14-8 with two and a half minutes left.
Benton had all of her team-high 12 points in the first and third periods.
Rockdale never trailed in knocking off the Druid Hills boys 65-61 in the nightcap.
Druid Hills got the closest it would get all night at 47-46 when Darrien Jordan converted a lay up with just over seven minutes to go in the fourth.
The next minute and a half proved to be the difference as Rockdale got four of Jamal Turner’s game-high 18 points, including a steal and lay up, during a 7-0 run that made it a 54-46 game at the 5:30 mark.
After an Adam Ellis-to-Brian Jessie connection on an alley-oop dunk, Rockdale led 45-33 with four and a half minutes to go in the third quarter.
Druid Hills climbed back into it as Demarcus Morgan had four points during an 11-2, quarter-ending run that got the Red Devils to within 47-44 with one quarter to play.
Rockdale scored the first nine points of the game - seven coming from Turner, including a difficult, off-hand lay up at the 4:11 mark of the first.
Micah Edwards also played well early, picking up a conventional three-point play and a long 3-pointer to help Druid Hills keep its deficit to as little as five points.
The Red Devils got it back down to five at 26-21 with 2:30 to go until halftime on Tim Jones’ put back. Rockdale scored eight of the next 10 points to push its lead to 34-23 with just over a minute to play in the opening half. Morgan and Terrance Rose hit consecutive 3-pointers for Druid Hills before Darryl Tucker closed the half with a lay up that sent Rockdale into the locker room up 36-29.
Tucker contributed 12 points and 11 rebounds, Jessie had 11 points and Derreon Johnson had a nice night off the bench with 10 points and eight rebounds for Rockdale, which improved to 7-14 overall and 3-6 in Region 2-AAAAAA. Maurice Love led Druid Hills (3-16, 0-7) with 16 points.