It doesn’t matter what sport, anytime that Cedartown and Rockmart get together, it’s always a tough matchup. And though in the past seasons have been won or lost on whether the Bulldogs or Yellow Jackets win these close games or matches, these days they are more for bragging rights.
So Cedartown and Rockmart will have to share their victories in the final games of the regular season between the rivals as they both now get back into region play as January gets closer to an end and region tournaments draw near.
Here’s a rundown of how the teams fared in their final basketball matchups of 2019.
Note that the Bulldogs and Jackets next face each other in baseball and soccer coming up in February.
Lady Bulldogs win in classic fashion
The Cedartown Lady Bulldogs escaped Rockmart last Thursday night, defeating the Lady Jackets in a close 62-58 finish. For Cedartown, the win did not come easily.
Despite leading much of the night, they had to mount a comeback in the final two minutes secure the win. That included a 31-23 halftime lead, and raced to a 16-point lead midway through the third period. Though the Lady Jackets never gave up and came stinging back in the last quarter.
After trading scores back and forth, Rockmart benefitted from a Cedartown turnover and took the lead on a Janaza Hutchins layup.
When the Lady Bulldogs got the ball back, they quickly scored to tie the game at 58.
Following a steal by Kam Frazier, Cedartown sophomore Keke Turner drew a foul that sent her to the free throw line. She sunk both and gave Cedartown a 60-58 lead.
Frazier then recorded another steal and gave it off to Qiana Watson who was fouled with 3.9 seconds left. Watson converted on both shots to ice the game and solidify the Lady Bulldogs’ 62-58 triumph.
Tamera Beeman led all Cedartown scorers with 21 points in the game. Qiana Watson and Keke Turner scored 16 and 14 respectively. Kam Frazier added 7 points and had numerous steals and assists in the matchup; she was a big reason why Cedartown won down the stretch. Freshman Marycille Brumby also scored four points.
Coach Eddie Gambrell was very excited after the win and had a lot to say about his players: “This is why I have stressed the importance of mental toughness all season. We knew we had a tough task ahead of ourselves and we knew Rockmart would battle back.”
He said that one of his proudest memories of the game took place in the waning moments.
“Keke missed a layup with ten seconds left that would have put it out of reach. A timeout was called, and she was visibly upset with herself. However, three teammates met her and walked her to the huddle assuring her it would be okay. That shows maturity by them, and a ton of mental toughness by the Lady Bulldog,” Gambrell said. “I knew when I took this job it would not be an immediate turnaround: it would take time.”
“These girls are finally buying into my vision that they are one of the best teams in the region and could be a championship-caliber squad. We still have a long way to go, but I am excited at where we are at right now,” he added.
With the win, the Lady Bulldogs improved to 10-3 overall.
Rockmart boys take down Cedartown, 67-48
Rockmart got the better of the Cedartown Bulldogs this time out after a controversial end to their last game, with the game ending with a 67-48 Yellow Jacket win.
For the Bulldogs, the story of the night was their inability to guard the perimeter.
The Yellow Jackets made numerous threes in the game, and that proved to be the difference down the stretch.
Rockmart maintained a double-digit lead the majority of the game, and lead 40-24 at the half. Unfortunately for Cedartown, the score would not get much closer.
Early in the third period, the Bulldogs came within ten before allowing two three pointers to the Jackets, again extending their lead to 16.
The only Bulldog scorer in double-digits last Thursday was senior Zah Frazier, who finished with 12 points and 9 rebounds.
Jayden Johnson and Billy Darden had spectacular nights grabbing rebounds and converting on put-back layups, both adding 8 points. MJ Holiday, Jeremiah Johnson, Ronald Knight, and Elijah Pace all finished with four points on the day.
Despite only scoring 2 points, DJ Frazier had a great night defensively, recording multiple steals against the Jackets.
If the blame is to be placed on anyone, Bulldogs Head Coach Benjie Frazier says it should be on him.
“As their coach, I have to do a better job of getting them motivated to play at a higher level. We have to play with a sense of urgency, and we cannot play as individuals,” he said. “Offensively, we have to take better shots and make those shots. Defensively, we need to play better and rebound aggressively. We are not playing with maximum effort.”