By Derrick Mahone
Dutchtown coach Angela Williams knows about the old saying that it's tough to be a team twice in the same season. For her Bulldog squad, they will be trying to beat the same opponent in a five-day span.
On Monday, Dutchtown defeated Alcovy 55-52 in a Region 4-AAAA contest. The teams meet tonight at Dutchtown for a 6 p.m. rematch.
"It is sort of good and bad to play a team twice in a week," Williams said. "The good is that we saw them on Monday, and there shouldn't be any surprises. The bad is that it is hard to beat a team twice in a season, much less in a week."
The Bulldogs are 19-2 overall and 13-1 in the region as they ride an eight-game winning streak into senior night at Dutchtown. Alcovy is in third place. Dutchtown needs the win to remain in second place in the region heading into Tuesday's rematch with region-leader Forest Park.
Dutchtown only region loss was to Forest Park on Jan. 12, when starting guard Lays Strickland went down with a leg injury. Despite not playing since the injury, the Bulldogs have won eight straight games. At the time, Strickland was averaging 12.1 points a game, which was second-most on the team behind twin sister, Brittney.
"We have been able to make the adjustment since the injury," senior forward Abria Trice said. "Our bench has really stepped up and played well."
Junior Aisha Atwater has taken Strickland's place in the lineup.
"She has done an outstanding job," Williams said. "Overall, the team has been doing well. At one point, we hit that midseason wall, but I think we are over it now. This is the time of year when you want to be playing your best ball."
The winning streak has done wonders for the Dutchtown confidence level.
"Our confidence is definitely high," said Brittney Strickland, an Alabama A&M signee, who scored her 1,000 career point in a win over Sandy Creek. "We have been on a mission since our last lost. We feel we have gotten ourselves together and now have the right frame of mind."
In the first meeting between the two teams, Alcovy leading scorer Ashley Williams got into foul trouble. The Tigers were able to stay in the game with Lisa Kossally scoring seven of Alcovy's 13 points in the second period.
Alcovy trailed 27-25 at the intermission, and kept it close before taking the lead late in the fourth quarter. However, Alcovy was unable to maintain their intensity late in the quarter.
"I think fatigue was a huge factor," Alcovy coach Kidada Holtzclaw told the Rockdale Citizen. "When we tied the game in the fourth quarter the intensity just wasn't there. That's something we talked about in the locker room. At this point in the season we just have to suck it up. We've played with low numbers. We just have to be intense from start to finish."