Mt. Zion sweeps McIntosh

By Jeffery Armstrong

The McIntosh boys and girls basketball teams were no match for both Mt. Zion teams in the second round of the Mt. Zion Tip-Off Classic Tuesday night at Mt. Zion High. The Mt. Zion teams dominated on both ends of the floor, leading to blowout victories.

Mt. Zion 54, McIntosh 34 (girls): The Mt. Zion Lady Bulldogs sprinted to a 16-2 first quarter lead and never looked back, routing the McIntosh Lady Chiefs 54-34 Tuesday night in their tournament's second round game. McIntosh was only able to sink two free throws in the first for their only points of the quarter. Ashauntae Bussey led Mt. Zion with 12 points and Dee Dee Pearce added 10 to keep the Lady Bulldogs undefeated at 2-0. Pearce believes they can keep the momentum up this season, despite what their critics have said.

"It feels good to start the season at 2-0. People had doubts that we could play well this season like we did last season," she said. "We will just try to keep on proving the doubters wrong."

Mt. Zion's will host the South Cobb Lady Eagles Saturday at 8 p.m., the tournament's final game.

Mt. Zion 60, McIntosh 38 (boys): The McIntosh Chiefs boys team hung in with the Mt. Zion Bulldogs in the first quarter, but was outscored 16-2 in the second quarter en route to a 60-38 blowout loss Tuesday night. Mt. Zion (1-1) led McIntosh 13-7 at the end of the first, but the team clamped down in the second, holding the Chiefs to only two points in the second for a 29-9 halftime lead. The Bulldogs coasted the rest of the way to get their first win of the young season.

"It's nice that we came back and played well after our loss to South Cobb on Saturday," said Mt. Zion head coach Rick Moore. "I'm really pleased with the way we've played defense in both games. The kids are working very hard on that end of the floor and that's always a good thing."

Derek Slaughter led the way for Mt. Zion with 20 points and Mikal Bennett chipped in nine. Mt. Zion will face Paideia Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in their final tourney game.

In other tournament action from Tuesday night:

Tri-Cities 62, Lovejoy 57 (boys - Arrowhead Classic): The Lovejoy Wildcats basketball team rallied from a 17-point third-quarter deficit to take a brief lead in the game's final seconds, but the Tri-Cities Bulldogs hit free throws down the stretch to pull out the 62-57 victory Tuesday night at the Arrowhead Classic at Morrow High. The loss spoiled the debut of Lovejoy head coach Rick Francis, who manned the sidelines for Tri-Cities just last season. It looked like the Bulldogs would run their former coach's new team out of the gym Tuesday. They took a lead late in the first quarter and by the 5:00 mark of the third quarter, Tri-Cities led 41-24. Tri-Cities led 49-38 heading into the fourth quarter.

Lovejoy (0-1) went on a 10-0 run to start the fourth quarter to pull within one, 49-48, at the 4:48 mark of the fourth, thanks to inspired play from Wildcats point guard Matt Allen. Allen scored six points in the run and made a nice assist to teammate Maurice Simon to chop Tri-Cities' lead.

Allen, who finished with a game-high 25 points, hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 55 with 1:30 left and then Ryan Nash's rebound and layup gave Lovejoy its first lead since the first quarter at 57-55 with exactly one minute remaining.

Tray Rutland of Tri-Cities made a layup to tie the score at 57 and Rishard Wise hit two free throws to give Tri-Cities the lead for good at 59-57 with 33 seconds remaining. Simon tried to tie the score seconds later, but Terrell Johnson of Tri-Cities blocked his shot and Tri-Cities shot three more free throws to win the game. Lovejoy faces South Atlanta this afternoon at 4:30 p.m.

Nash had 10 rebounds to go with his nine points for Lovejoy. Rutland and Johnson scored 14 points each and Wise had 11 for Tri-Cities.

Mundy's Mill 79, Creekside 69 (boys - Arrowhead): Corey Kimbro led four players in double figures as the Mundy's Mill Tigers defeated the Creekside Seminoles Tuesday night.

Kent Dorsey, Brandon Robinson and Jeremy Mahaffey all had big games for the Tigers (1-0).