There was still two minutes left in the Class AAAAA championship game and Cameron Bryant couldn’t help himself. He opened his mouth, turned toward the stands and emitted a pair of ear-piercing “whooooooos” for the world to hear.
Bryant and his Dutchtown teammates had a lot to celebrate on Friday night. The Bulldogs defeated Cedar Shoals 57-44 and captured the school’s first state basketball championship at the Macon Coliseum.
The Bulldogs (28-4) were led by Region 4 Player of the Year Jamaine Mann, who transferred from Starr’s Mill before the season began. Mann, the brother of former Georgia Bulldog Charles Mann, was 7-for-10 from the field and 6-for-6 from the line with 12 rebounds and two assists.
Bryant, who scored 18 points on 8-for-13 shooting with four rebounds, could hardly wait to interrupt Mann’s interview with an Atlanta television station to give his teammate a hug and thrust the silver state championship trophy into his arms.
“This is all we’ve worked for since June,” Mann said. “We’ve had a goal since June. We made history. We’re the best team in the state. We had our doubters, but we proved them wrong. We’ve been through so much. This win just proves we’re a strong family.”
It was a bitter pill for Cedar Shoals (28-4), which lost to Buford in the 2017 championship game. The Jaguars were led by Quincy Canty with 17 points. But Cedar Shoals shot only 36.2 percent from the field and were 3-for-15 on 3-pointers against the sturdy Dutchtown defense.
The game between the two state powers – Dutchtown was ranked No. 2 and Cedar Shoals was ranked No. 2 – was tight until midway through the second quarter. That’s when Dutchtown used a 6-0 run, with the final points coming on a slam by Bryant, to achieve the first glimpse of separation. Dutchtown led 29-21 at halftime.
In the third quarter it was Mann who made the difference, scoring four points in a 6-0 run that pushed the Dutchtown lead to 37-25. The Bulldogs eventually led by as many as 16 on another Bryant slam with 4:49 left.
“We had a goal,” Mann said. “They’re a great team, they’re a well-coached team, but our coach said if we play defense, this game will be ours.”
Dutchtown became only the second Henry County team to win a state championship. Eagle’s Landing won the Class AAAAA title in 2013.
Cedar Shoals (44): Tyler Johnson 6, Jaiden Williams 6, Quincy Canty 17, Rickil Willingham 2, Jerdavian Colbert 6, Jalen Jackson 2, Kashik Brown 5.
Dutchtown (57): Jaelyn Anderson 5, Kameron Hobbs 6, Cameron Bryant 18, Jamaine Mann 20, Cameron Callahan 4, Isaiah Placide 4.
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