N. Clayton girls try to climb the 'Mountain' again

By Jeffery Armstrong

The North Clayton girls basketball team will try to retain sole possession of first place in Region 5-AAAA West when they host the Stone Mountain Lady Pirates tonight at 7 p.m.

The Lady Eagles of North Clayton (11-8, 7-0) will also try to sweep the season series between the two teams. The Lady Eagles went on the road and blitzed the Lady Pirates 53-32 on Dec. 10, thanks to 17 points from Jasmine Sykes, 11 from Michelle Keith and 10 from Shaleece Bradberry.

Stone Mountain is ranked 10th in the state and is on a roll, winning five straight games by 13 points or more to improve its record to 17-5, 6-1 in the subregion. Included in those big wins was an 84-29 shellacking of Columbia and a 68-46 pasting of South Atlanta in recent dates.

North Clayton is also rolling, coming up with victories in four straight games since losing by 12 points to bitter rival Riverdale on Jan. 8. The win streak equals the longest streak of the season for the Lady Eagles and to keep it going, they must play strong defense and shoot the ball well against Stone Mountain. They must also defend their home court a bit better - the Lady Eagles have lost two of their last three home games. The good news is that those recent home losses haven't been to a subregion opponent.

North Clayton must also try to contain junior Stone Mountain guard Angelique Gray, who averaged 16 points, seven rebounds and four steals for the Lady Pirates last year as they advanced to the 2004 state AAAA final four.

The North Clayton boys team improved to 16-4, 6-1 in the subregion with their recent victory over the Washington Bulldogs, their third straight win since losing at South Atlanta on Jan. 11. The Eagles, No. 7 in Class AAAA, are still in first place in the subregion and have been really playing well this season. The Eagles will have to keep that good play going against a tough Stone Mountain (14-8) team tonight at 8:30 p.m.

In other ranked girls team action, the 19-1 Jonesboro Lady Cardinals will take their No. 1 ranking up the road a few miles to face county and Region 5-AAAA East foe Mt. Zion tonight at 7 p.m. Jonesboro beat Mt. Zion by 26 points the last time the two teams met. The Riverdale Lady Raiders, No. 9 in Class AAAAA, will try to push their win streak to seven straight games when they host the Tri-Cities Lady Bulldogs tonight at 7 p.m. Riverdale (13-3, 8-1 in Region 2-AAAAA) has been getting balanced scoring and strong rebounding efforts this season and freshman center Laura Broomfield has scored in double figures in nine straight games. The Morrow Lady Mustangs aren't ranked, but they will face a ranked Redan girls team (No. 5 in AAAAA) tonight. The Mundy's Mill boys team (15-3, 7-1) lost their first Region 4-AAAAA game at East Coweta Tuesday but look to get back on the winning track at Fayette County tonight at 8:30 p.m. Other games tonight include Newnan at Lovejoy at 6 p.m. and Washington at Forest Park at 7 p.m.