By Doug Gorman
It wasn't hard to tell that Saturday's contests at Mt. Zion High School were the first of the season for the school's varsity basketball teams.
At times the play was sloppy and shooting off the mark, but in the end both Bulldogs squads opened the season with victories in their own Truett's Grill Tip-Off Classic.
In boys' action, the Bulldogs held on for a 45-38 victory against McIntosh , while in girls' play, the Lady Bulldogs got their season started with a 39-25 victory against McIntosh's girls' team.
Mt. Zion 45, McIntosh 38: Mt. Zion build a 13-8 lead at the end of the first quarter and increased it to 26-19 at the break to set the tone for its season-opening victory.
Allen Smith scored 19 points and Quentin Anderson added 15 to pace the Bulldog scorers.
"You could tell it was the first game of the season, but I was generally happy with the way things went and the way we played. McIntosh is a well-coached team and you know they are going to keep playing hard," said Mt. Zion coach Rick Moore.
Each time Mt. Zion tried to put a little distance between itself and McIntosh, the Chiefs found away to comeback.
In the first quarter, McIntosh's Bryan Bostic drained two 3-point shots to keep the game close.
Reggie Anderson and Maurice Walker also hit 3-pointers for McIntosh in the second quarter to squelch the Bulldogs' first double-digit lead.
Paced by the play of Smith, who scored 9 points in the third quarter, Mt. Zion went on a 13-2 run and led 39-25.
McIntosh made one last run in the final quarter, outscoring the Bulldogs 13-6 to put a scare into the Bulldogs, who eventually hung on down the stretch.
Mt. Zion 39, McIntosh 25 (girls): Mt. Zion girls' basketball coach Edwin Turnipseed probably didn't get too much sleep before coaching the Lady Bulldogs in their season-opening victory against the Lady Chiefs.
Just 24-hours earlier, Turnipseed finished his duties as an assistant coach with the school's football as the Bulldogs lost to No.-1 ranked Camden County.
After the football game, the team still faced a five-hour bus ride home, putting Turnipseed back home around 4 p.m.
Still, disappointed by the football team's loss, the Lady Bulldogs salvaged the weekend for Turnipseed with a 39-25 victory.
Mt. Zion led 13-6 at the end of the first quarter, and 21-13 at the end of the first half.
Thanks to strong defense by, McIntosh never made a run at the Lady Bulldogs, who held the Lady Chiefs to just six shots from the field.
Whitney Linton was the offensive catalyst for the Lady Bulldogs scoring 12 points.
Milan Johnson, who recently signed with the University of Georgia, added 8.
The Lady Bulldogs increased their lead to 34-20 at the end of the third quarter.
In other scores from the tournament at Mt. Zion:
South Cobb beat Norcross 49-42 (girls)
Norcross 67, South Cobb 54 (boys)
Paideia 47, Fayette County 45 (girls)
Fayette County 74, Paideia 71 (boys)
Tournament action continues today with Norcross taking on Fayette County (girls) at 4:30, Norcross taking on Paideia (boys) at 6 and the Mt. Zion girls taking on Paideia at 7:30 p.m.