By Phil Albert
Special to The Daily
Zachary Bradley hit eight free throws in the fourth quarter and scored 25 points as North Clayton came from behind for an intense 45-41 victory over host Dutchtown in Region 4-AAAA boys basketball action Tuesday evening.
North Clayton hit 17-of-25 free throws on the night, with Bradley hitting 12-of-13.
"We worked on our free throw shooting all week," Bradley said on the importance of the victory. "We did a lot of running this week."
Free throw shooting inaccuracy has plagued the Eagles all season, so the good result Tuesday was pleasing to coach Martise Troupe.
"We stepped up tonight," the coach said. "Free throw shooting has been something we've been stressing. We're still in the hunt for first place."
Eagle players face extra running drills for missed free throws.
The Eagles improved to 15-8 overall, 9-5 in regional action. The Eagles are tied with Forest Park for second place in the region behind Jonesboro. They will host Stockbridge (9-6) in another key region test Friday night.
Bradley hit 13 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter.
"We needed it," he said. "It's a great win."
North Clayton entered the fourth quarter down by four, 31-27.
A three-pointer by Bradley would tie the game at 34. A bucket by Derrick Brock would later give Dutchtown a 36-35 lead, but Bradley would give North Clayton the lead for good with a three-point play and a 38-36 lead.
He would score the team's final seven points, all from the free throw line.
Bradley scored six of the team's seven points in the first quarter, but Dutchtown led 10-7 at the break. The Bulldogs took a 15-13 lead at halftime. The Eagles came back in the third quarter and took a four-point lead, only for the Bulldogs to answer with a 7-0 run to end the third quarter with a four-point lead.
Jimmy Williams scored eight points for the Eagles. Justin Ravnell had eight rebounds.
Dutchtown finished with a good night at the free throw line, hitting 16-of-21, and the Bulldogs crashed the boards well for 37 rebounds.
Michael Small finished with 12 points and nine boards; Brock finished with nine points and 11 boards and Courtney Pickett had seven points and seven rebounds.
Dutchtown 52, North Clayton 32: Dutchtown is still in the hunt for second place in girls action, as they gained revenge with this victory over the Lady Eagles. North Clayton took a 49-40 victory earlier this season in College Park.
Abria Trice scored 16 points, grabbed nine rebounds and had five blocked shots in giving the Lady Bulldogs a boost toward the regional runner-up position.
Brittney Strickland led Dutchtown with 19 points, nine coming in the fourth quarter and 15 coming in the second half.
Dutchtown never trailed. Trice scored five of the team's first 10 points as the Lady Bulldogs led early, 10-2.
North Clayton would cut the margin to four late in the second quarter, 19-15, but Dutchtown would score nine straight points to take a 28-15 lead, six of the nine points coming from Strickland.
Dutchtown led 33-23 entering the final quarter and outscored North Clayton, 9-1, for a 42-24 lead, with Strickland scoring seven points during the stretch.
North Clayton cut the margin to 14, 46-32, but the Eagles scored the game's final six points.
"We needed to hustle and play hard," Trice said. "We boxed out and rebounded better tonight."
She added, "I wanted to have a good game. The blocks and transition game were keys tonight."
Transition baskets were key, as the Lady Eagle offense was plagued with turnovers. North Clayton hit just 12-of-28 from the free throw line and had 33 turnovers, many leading to easy buckets for Dutchtown.
Dutchtown also delivered from the free throw line, as the Lady Bulldogs hit 16-of-21.
Miranda Cantrell led North Clayton with seven points and 10 rebounds. Crystal Nwapara had nine rebounds with Marshonda Anderson adding eight boards.