By Derrick Mahone
Dutchtown senior Abria Trice is sometimes overshadowed by the offensive showmanship of teammate Brittney Strickland on most nights.
Friday in a crucial 43-38 Region 4-AAAA contest, Trice provided the Bulldogs with some timely offensive explosion. The senior scored nine of her 15 points in the pivotal third quarter as the Bulldogs hung on for the win as they celebrated senior night.
Trailing 25-16 at the intermission, Trice hit consecutive 3-pointers to cut into the lead. Senior Courtney Durham made a layup as Dutchtown trailed 25-24 early in the quarter.
Strickland, the team's leading scorer, hit a pair of free throws to give the Bulldogs the lead for good with 4:18 remaining in the quarter.
"I knew I had to step it up because we were down," said Trice, who is expected to sign with Prairie View A&M in April. "We had some players in foul trouble so I had to sort of carry the team. We were able to get back into the game because of good defense. We stopped rushing the ball."
With Trice, Strickland and Jessica Foster sitting the majority of the second quarter because of foul trouble. Alcovy was able to take the lead as Dutchtown committed 10 turnovers during the quarter. The Bulldogs could only manage five points as Alcovy scored 18 to take control of the game.
"Abria really came through when we had some people in foul trouble," Dutchtown coach Angela Williams said. "She has really stepped her role up on the team. She can run the point guard if we need her to, and I wanted the ball in her hands."
Williams said a halftime pep was needed. In the third quarter, the Bulldogs didn't have any turnovers as they made their comeback.
"I got on them in the locker room," Williams said. "I had to motivate them to take better care of the basketball. If that is what I have to do, hey, it is the way it has to be. I had to do some positive re-enforcement."
Strickland also had 15 points to help lead the team to its ninth straight win. The Bulldogs are 20-2 overall and 14-1 in the region. Alcovy fell to 15-8 and 11-4. With the win, Dutchtown secures no worst than a second place finish in the region.
The Bulldogs will meet region leader Forest Park in a rematch Tuesday from their 74-55 lost earlier this season. A win by Dutchtown would result in a tie for first place.
Williams wasn't sure of how the tiebreaker would work. The regular season champion gets an automatic bid to the region semifinals, which guarantees a state tournament berth.
"This was a big game because now we finish no worst than second place," Williams said. "I'm not sure if we do a coin flip or go off of points. I'll take a win either way."
Alcovy pulled to within three points with 27 second remaining as Alex Tucker made a follow-up layup as the Tigers trailed 41-38. Aisha Atwater made the front end of a one-and-and to extend the lead to 42-38 with 15 seconds remaining.
The Tigers were called for a lane violation on its next possession and then Strickland made one of two free throws to close out the scoring with seven seconds remaining.
"We were rushing things in the second quarter," Strickland said. "We weren't taking our time, and we let them back into the ball game. We have to learn to be more patient. We have to show more maturity on the court. It is something that we have to fix before the region tournament."
Alcovy (boys) 61, Dutchtown 31: The Tigers hit six first-half 3-pointers to take control of the region game. Devon Edwards scored a game-high 14 points for the visitor as teammate Jameel Lashley added 12.
Alcovy led 31-15 at halftime to cruise to the win and improve to 12-12 overall and 7-8 in the region. Dutchtown could only muster five points in the second quarter and only four in the third as the Tigers pressure defense forced several turnovers.
Senior Alphonzo Reid led the Bulldogs with eight points.