CONYERS — A tale of two halves proved to be the storyline Thursday night with a trip to the Class AAAAAAA state quarterfinals on the line between host Rockdale and fifth-ranked Campbell.
Holding the Spartans offense to three points in the second quarter — their lowest scoring out-put in their last 53 quarters played — the Bulldogs took a two-point lead into halftime before letting the game get away in the second half.
Leading 19-17 at the break, the Bulldogs were held to six points of offense in the second half and watched their season come to a close in the second round of the playoffs with a 50-25 loss.
Second-year head coach Sean Turley looked back to the third quarter where his team didn’t score their first points until with 45 seconds remaining as being one of the deciding factors in their loss.
“We had a few empty possessions coming out of halftime that could have extended it, or changed the dynamics of the game,” Turley said. “When those empty possessions happened, (Campbell) started to capitalize. We didn’t make the proper adjustments like we needed to.”
With the Spartans running a full-court press for the vast majority of the game, the Bulldogs struggled at times getting the ball across halfcourt.
All-in-all, the Bulldogs turned the ball over 29 times with more than 10 a direct result of the Spartans’ press.
Facing their largest deficit of the game, 29-19 with under one minute remaining in the third, Rockdale freshman Lia Edwards ended more than a 10-minute scoreless drought for the Bulldogs with an and-1.
After forcing a quick turnover, junior Stephan Sellers trimmed Campbell’s lead to six, 29-23 with a floater, giving the Bulldogs some much-needed momentum heading into the fourth quarter.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, their momentum was short lived.
Two and-1s and a layup in the first 1:34 of the fourth quarter extended Campbell’s lead to 14 points.
Less than two minutes later, an Alana Moore technical foul put the game to rest for the Bulldogs, who watched the deficit grow to 16 with just under five minutes remaining in the game.
Moore’s technical was the second of the second half for the Bulldogs.
“When you get technicals, I guess you can say emotions got us a little bit,” Turley said. “The girls continued to fight. The biggest thing we stressed is that even through adversity, you have to push through. You have to find that opportunity when adversity hits.”
The only points scored in the fourth by the Bulldogs were a pair of Shaquice May free throws. The junior led the Bulldogs in scoring with 10 points. Edwards was the next closest with six.
With the loss, the Bulldogs’ season comes to a close with a 22-8 record, one of the best seasons in program history for Turley’s squad.
“I’m just proud of the ladies,” Turley said. “That’s a special, young group. They came in as warriors and really did what they were supposed to do, above and beyond the call to duty. It was good to see and it’s encouraging for the year’s to come. We just want to keep putting them in positions to be successful. It really took all 13 of us to do what we did.”