Dutchtown boys steam ahead into playoffs; a look at the final week

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Dutchtown ran away with the Region 3 regular championship, but veteran coach Wallace Corker knows that means very little once the playoffs start. The Bulldogs, who are ranked No. 2 in the state, can’t afford to take a night off with the likes of Eagle’s Landing, Warner Robins and Jones County lurking ahead.

The Bulldogs (16-8, 11-1) survived the difficult region schedule, losing only to major-rival Eagle’s Landing. And while the climb to the region championship won’t be easy, Corker’s team is playing well at the right time.

“I think we’re peaking at the right time,” Corker said. “With the schedule we played, playing McEachern and Wheeler, we’ve experienced everything. We’ve had everything thrown at us. I think we can compete going forward. The players are excited about this region tournament and going forward into the state tournament.”

The Bulldogs have a great foundation in a pair of 6-foot-8 seniors in Joah Chappelle and Matthew Hinton. Chappelle does a good job facilitating, finishing and scoring. Hinton is a guy who controls the paint and cleans up on the boards.

Jamir Russell, a 6-1 senior, starts at guard and has a great outside touch – if he can be enticed into shooting the ball.

“When he gets going, it gets going and that makes a big difference,” Corker said. “It opens things up for Matthew and Chappelle.”

The other starters are Austin Mosby-Weems, a 6-3 senior, and sophomore Chris “Goggles” Anderson, who manages the team on the floor.

Key players off the bench are: 6-5 senior Gabriel Bradley, who spells the big guys and is credited by Corker for helping beat Warner Robins; junior Michael Dawson, a left-handed guard with a good touch; and Charlie Scott, another good-shooting sophomore.

Region 3 began its postseason tournament on Monday at Dutchtown.

The boys got underway on Monday and Jones County avoided the first upset of the postseason by hanging on to beat Union Grove 66-61 in overtime. Warner Robins took notice and handily defeated Locust Grove 80-57 and Eagle’s Landing eliminated Ola 81-40.

That sets up two excellent semifinal games on Thursday – Eagle’s Landing vs. Warner Robins and Dutchtown vs. Jones County.

The girls tournament begins Tuesday. Eagle’s Landing plays Dutchtown, Jones County plays Locust Grove and Warner Robins plays Ola. The semifinals will be played on Thursday and the consolation and championships on Friday.

Here’s a look at the other playoff races going into the final week.

Boys

Region 1: Statesboro (18-3, 8-1) clinched first place last weekend by beating challengers Ware County and Bradwell Institute. That leaves Ware County (15-9) and Bradwell (19-4) tied with three league losses; they split during the regular season. Bradwell finishes the season Tuesday at Jenkins.

Region 3: McIntosh (11-12) and Northgate (17-6) are tied with 6-1 league records and have split their two meetings. McIntosh closes the season Tuesday at home against Northside-Columbus. Northgate finishes its season on Friday against Drew. If there is a tie for first, the No. 1 seed will be determined by a coin flip.

Region 4: Tucker (20-4, 10-1) will take the No. 1 seed and a 16-game winning streak into the region tournament, which the Tigers will host. Decatur (15-6, 6-2) and King (17-6, 6-2) will meet twice this week to determine second place; they play Tuesday at King and Thursday at Decatur.

Region 5: Tri-Cities (15-8, 12-2) can win the regular-season title with a win over Maynard Jackson on Tuesday or Banneker on Friday. Chapel Hill (17-7, 11-4) and Jackson (17-4, 10-4) are in contention for the No. 2 seed. Lithia Springs (13-11, 10-5) and Mays (15-7, 8-6) finish the regular season against each other on Friday.

Region 6: Kell (20-3, 11-0) has a 19-game winning streak and has won the regular-season championship. Greater Atlanta Christian (18-5, 7-3) holds a one-game edge over Chattahoochee (15-8, 6-4) for second place, but the Spartans finish the regular season against Kell. Chattahoochee finishes against Centennial and North Springs.

Region 7: Hiram (14-8, 7-1) enters the final week with a one-game lead over Cartersville (10-12, 6-2). Hiram plays Cass on Tuesday and Cartersville is at rival Calhoun, then the two meet on Friday in Hiram for a game that could decide the regular-season title. Hiram defeated Cartersville during their first meeting.

Region 8: Winder-Barrow (21-3, 10-1) has won its last 11 games and claimed the region title. The No. 2 seed will be determined when Clarke Central (12-12, 8-3) travels to Jefferson (18-6, 8-3) on Tuesday night. Jefferson won the first meeting in Athens.

Girls

Region 1: Ware County (18-6, 8-2) is the leader in the clubhouse, but can be caught if Bradwell (20-3, 7-2) beats Jenkins and Statesboro (19-3, 7-2) beats Greenbrier on Tuesday. That could create a three-way tie for first place, with all three splitting against each other.

Region 3: Harris County (18-3, 5-1) secured first place by beating Northgate (15-8, 4-3) on Friday. Northside-Columbus (8-14, 4-2) is currently in second place, but finishes with games against McIntosh and Harris County.

Region 4: Arabia Mountain (21-2, 9-0) has won the regular-season title and has won 11 straight games, with one game remaining against Lithonia. Chamblee has secured second place (15-5, 8-2).

Region 5: Maynard Jackson (20-1, 14-0) has won 13 straight games and needs a win over Tri-Cities on Tuesday or Midtown on Friday to clinch the No. 1 seed. Midtown (20-3, 12-2) has won seven in a row. Creekside (25-7 10-4) and Tri-Cities (13-8, 10-4) are tied for third; Creekside finishes against Banneker and Chapel Hill, Tri-Cities finishes against Jackson and Banneker.

Region 6: Northview (18-6, 9-2) and Greater Atlanta Christian (10-12, 8-2) go head-to-head to possibly determine first place. Northview will claim first place with a win. GAC, which won the first meeting with Northview, could earn the top seed with a win over Northview and Kell on Friday.

Region 7: Dalton (15-8, 7-1) has a four-game winning streak and a one-game lead, but needs to win both its last games against Woodland and Calhoun to guarantee first place. Calhoun (15-8, 6-2) and Cartersville (13-10, 6-2) are tied for second and play each other on Tuesday.

Region 8: Jefferson (21-3, 11-0) has won seven straight, clinched first place and finishes the season Tuesday against Clarke Central. Loganville (18-6, 8-3) needs a win against Winder-Barrow to earn the No. 2 seed or risk falling into a tie with Eastside (144, 8-4).

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