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It's official: Dutchtown has rebounded

From Staff Reports

As Dutchtown boys' basketball team began the season 0-6, much of the Bulldogs' struggles were easily explained.

"We were short (on players), because of how far our football team went," Dutchtown senior Kellan Holiday said.

Holiday was one of five players, and two starters, absent from basketball as the football team advanced to the Class AAAA quarterfinals. And in the meantime, the basketball team was left to fend for itself.

But since getting back to full strength, Dutchtown (10-10, 8-1 Region

3A-AAAA) is back to winning. The Bulldogs have won eight of their last 10 games and sit atop Region 3A-AAAA with a two-game lead.

"They really enjoy playing for each other," Bulldogs coach Bernie Farrell said. "They are really unselfish. I don't think they care who scores."

Coming off the program's first appearance in the state tournament, Dutchtown had to replace four starters this season. But the Bulldogs brought back a group eager to make its own mark on the program.

"I think they want to build on (the playoff appearance), but I think they also want to kind of built their own path," Farrell said.

Dutchtown won't encounter Subregion B until teams cross over in the region tournament, where fourth-ranked Fayette County looms, but with the way the Bulldogs are playing, they feel they can make some noise.

"It's pretty tough competition, because we don't have any size," Dutchtown senior Jalen Blye said, "but with the way we're playing now I think we can compete with them. I think we might be one of the best teams on that side."

NEW SEASON, DIFFERENT STORY: Last season this time, Henry County was in contention for the Region 4-AA title chase. However, graduation took its told on the Lady Hawks this season as they are in sixth place in a nine-team region.

Leading scorer from a season ago, Briana Williams, is now one of the top newcomers in the Atlantic Sun Conference. War Hawks coach Carl Caputa said the team is trying to get adjusted to playing different roles this season.

"Everyone of our returning players have a new role this season," Caputa said. "We are asking some different people to score that didn't have to do that last season. However, this is the hardest working group I've had in a while. They are paying attention and trying to learn what we are trying to teach. It is obviously not where we want to be, but they are working."

GOING FOR THREE: The Mount Zion girls will be trying to do something they haven't done in three years — win three straight games. Mount Zion has won its last two games heading into tonight's Region 4-AAAA game against Mundy's Mill, which is third in the standings.

The Lady Bulldogs have beaten Jonesboro and Morrow in their last two games. Against Jonesboro, sophomore forward Briana Adair had 22 rebounds to go with her 19 points. In the Lady Bulldogs win over Morrow, junior Chae Dorris finished with 16 rebounds, including seven on the offensive end.

Mount Zion hasn't won three games in a row since defeating Paideia, Ola and Stockbridge in early December 2008.

CAREER MILESTONE: Eagle's Landing Christian basketball player Taylor Echols has been a scoring machine during his four-year career with the Chargers. Friday night, Echols became part of an exclusive club, scoring his 1,000 career point. The Chargers' senior achieved the milestone in his team's 65-56 victory against Our Lady of Mercy.

Echols, a 6-2 shooting guard, has helped the Chargers to a 14-5 overall record and a 4-1 mark in Region 9-A play.

TURNING UP THE "D": In their last nine games, the sixth-ranked Forest Park girls have been giving up an average of only 29.5 points per game. The Lady Panthers have improved to 16-5 with the nine-game winning streak.

Mundy's Mill is the only team to get at least 30 points on the Lady Panthers in two meeting during the win streak. In all, only three teams in the state have scored more than 30 points against Forest Park, which has not lost to an in-state team this season.

EXTRA WORK: Eagle's Landing boys team has played four overtime games this season, the most of any team in the area. The Golden Eagles are 3-1 when going into the extra period.

With six games remaining, the Golden Eagles are in second place in Region 4-AAA and have an overall record of 15-3 and 7-3 in the region.

SENIOR NIGHT WIN: The Ola Mustangs beat Locust Grove Saturday completing the season sweep, 52-44. Justin Gant scored 19, Julian Thompson 11 and Brad Blount 10 for the Mustangs.

Locust Grove was paced Jessie Jenkins' 14 points, and Jaerion Ponder with 10.