With the Region 4-AAAA tournament just around the corner, the Stockbridge Tigers entered their game at Dutchtown in much need of a win.
Paced by Chris Davis, last year's Henry Daily Herald Southern Crescent Player of the Year's 32 points, they got it.
The 84-78 decision, snapped a five-game losing streak and improved the Tigers' record to 13-8 overall and 8-5 in region action.
Dutchtown fell back to .500 with a 9-9 overall record and a 6-6 mark in Region 4-AAAA competition.
The win made Stockbridge coach Duane Kelley a happy man.
"It was a long two weeks for us, and it is good to come out of here with a win, but we can't rest to easy," he said. We play North Clayton, the No. 1 team in the region on Saturday."
Dutchtown, which had won seven of its last eight games, seized the momentum in the first half. The Bulldogs led 25-21 at the end of the first quarter. Avery Lynch knocked down two 3-pointers and Alphonzo Reid added a trey of his own to give Dutchtown the first-quarter lead.
The Bulldogs' lead reached 10 points midway in the second quarter when Derrick Brock converted an old-fashion three-point play to give Dutchtown a 34-24 lead.
From there, Stockbridge stormed back with a 16-5 run to close out the first half and lead 40-39 at the break.
The Tigers took the lead when Davis was fouled as time expired. Trailing by one, he stepped to the line with no left on the clock and drilled both free throws.
Both teams took turns with the lead in the third quarter. The Bulldogs pushed it out to a 53-45 margin at one stretch of the third quarter when Lynch knocked down his third 3-pointer of the game, but again the Tigers regrouped and led 61-59 heading into the final quarter.
Despite playing in front of a spirited Dutchtown student body, the Tigers kept their cool in the fourth quarter, and built a double-digit lead at one stretch.
"I like playing in front of a hostile crowd," Kelley said after the game. "I just hope my kids like it too."
The Tigers put the game away with some late free throw shooting and timely baskets by Dante Campbell, who was a force inside all night. He finished the game with 20 points, including some late free throws.
His tosses from the charity stripe were needed after the Bulldogs tried to make one last run.
Reid came up with two 3-points shots late, and turned one of his long-range jumpers into a four-point play as part of his 25-point effort. His second trey of the quarter cut the Stockbridge lead to 78-75.
Dutchtown will try and regroup tonight when they step out of region play in a game at home against Sandy Creek.
Dutchtown 47, Stockbridge 33 (girls): The Dutchtown girls basketball team improved its record to 16-2 overall and 11-1 in Region 4-AAAA action with a 47-33 win against Stockbridge.
It won't be a game that head coach Angela Williams wants to put in the end-of-year highlight video.
The Lady Bulldogs only lead 6-5 at the end of the first quarter, and Williams sent a message to her starting five with 3:08 remaining in the period by taking them out of the game.
They sat on the bench until the 6:05 mark of the second quarter. Stockbridge took its only lead of the game at 7-6 whne Arielle Johnson hit a basket one minute into the second quarter.
Once the regulars returned to the lineup, Dutchtown was able to pull away. The Bulldogs built a 20-12 lead at the half and extended it to 35-20 after three periods.
The game could have been closer had Stockbridge converted its shots from the field. The Lady Tigers hit one field goal in the first half and finished with just six for the game. The other 21 points game fromfree throws.
Brittney Strickland led Duthtown with 20 points. Stockbridge was led by Amari Moreland with 11.
Stockbridge fell to 7-12 oveall and 5-7 in league play.