By Phil Albert
Special to The Daily
North Clayton scored a sweep against visiting Dutchtown in regional basketball action Tuesday night.
With four players scoring in double figures and good free throw shooting late in the game, the Eagle boys scored a 61-51 win over the visiting Bulldogs in the nightcap.
In the night's opener, the lady Eagles held off a strong second-half Dutchtown surge and finally pulled away late for a 49-40 victory.
North Clayton 49, Dutchtown 40: The host Lady Eagles led by 14 in the second quarter, 19-5, before Dutchtown closed the first half on a 6-2 run, trailing 21-11 at the break.
Two 3-point buckets by Alyssa Strickland helped Dutchtown pull within four points, 31-27, after the third quarter.
A three-point play by Abria Trice and a Brittany Strickland free throw cut the margin to one, 36-35, and later, a free throw by Trice pulled Dutchtown to within two, 42-40.
But Crystal Nwapara scored two points after a steal with 1:05 remaining in the game and five more Lady Eagle points sealed the victory.
For Dutchtown, it was the team's fifth straight loss after opening the season at 8-0.
It was also the first game back for Brittany Strickland, who was given the okay to play after collapsing from dehydration against Stockbridge prior to the Christmas break. Three of the losses came during holiday tournament action at San Diego.
"Brittany missed four games, and it's great to have her back," coach Angela Williams said. "She's the brains of our operation. She would have helped in the tournament. It was good preparation for us. The talent was unbelievable and a real eye opener."
Both teams suffered from the free throw line. North Clayton finished 12-of-29, hitting only 5-of-15 in the fourth quarter. Dutchtown hit just 9-of-24.
"We hit about 90 percent of our free throw shots during our winning streak, but that's been a big problem area for us since then," the coach added.
Nwapara led North Clayton with 13 points and Marshonda Anderson added 10. Arielle Thomas came off the bench in the fourth quarter and contributed eight points. Miranda Cantrell had 10 rebounds.
Brittany Strickland led all scorers with a game-high 17 points off the bench, including nine in the final quarter. Alyssa Strickland contributed nine points and Trice added eight, seven coming in the second half.
North Clayton 61, Dutchtown 51: Jeffery Newberry scored 12 of his game-high 18 points in the second quarter as the Eagles pulled away for the victory against the scrappy Bulldogs.
After Dutchtown started the second quarter with a 7-0 run to take a 16-13 lead, Newberry scored seven straight points and helped the Eagles on a 12-2 run to take the lead for good, 25-18.
On two other occasions, Newberry hit key shots to stop other Dutchtown threats.
After Travis May hit two fourth-quarter free throws for Dutchtown, pulling the Bulldogs to within six points, 46-40, the Eagles answered with a 5-0 run to take their biggest lead of the night, 51-40.
Later, two free throws each by substitutes Alphonzo Reid and Derrick Brock pulled the Bulldogs to within six, 53-47, but that was as close as the visitors would get.
Antwaun Murphy, who scored five straight points for the Eagles in the first quarter, capped the game with a buzzer-beating three-pointer.
Both teams battled it out on the free throw line in the fourth quarter. They combined for 30 free throws, hitting on 20.
North Clayton hit 9-of-14 from the charity stripe in the final quarter and finished 14-of-21 on the night.
Dutchtown only made two field goals in the final quarter but hit 11-of-16 from the line.
The Bulldogs finished 17-of-29 on the night.
Guard Zachary Bradley finished with 14 points and seven rebounds for the Eagles, including 10 points in the final quarter.
Murphy added 11 points and Clarence Jackson chipped in 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Kellan Holiday came off the bench to lead Dutchtown with 12 points. Michael Small added eight.