Rockdale basketball sweeps doubleheader from Salem

CONYERS -- C.J. Wilson had 17 points, one of five players in double figures, and Rockdale scored a season-high in points in an 85-70 victory over rival Salem on Saturday in Conyers.

Rockdale (10-7) gave up 70 points for the first time in eight games, but it hardly mattered as the Bulldogs rolled to their fourth consecutive win.

Salem, which had its three-game winning streak snapped, went into an offensive drought at the start of the third quarter that helped put some distance between the two teams. While the Seminoles went four and a half minutes without a point, Rockdale pulled away.

The visiting Bulldogs led by 11 at halftime, but Myles Cardenas scored seven of his 12 points during a 13-0 run to start the quarter and Rockdale saw its lead balloon to 24 on Wilson's three-pointer with 4:29 to play.

Darryle Tucker, who had a huge all-around game with 15 points and 10 rebounds, had five points in the final two and a half minutes of the third, and LaRonte Parks chipped in with 12 of his 15 points in the fourth.

Stacey Clarke found Damion Gordon for a three-pointer in the corner early in the second to cap a 7-0 run and get Salem to within 23-22. But Rockdale took control after that.

Darius Mitchell's three-pointer, part of a 12-point opening half for the senior, began a stretch where the Bulldogs scored 16 of the next 20 points and took their largest lead of the half at 39-26 with 1:46 to play in the second.

Rockdale came out strong, scoring the first nine points of the game, all coming from Wilson and Tucker. Salem scored its first points on a three-pointer by Jamaal Garror, and Garror knocked down another from behind the arc as Salem got back into the game at 11-9 midway through the first.

Dedrick Turner led Salem with 16 points and Garror added 13.

The Rockdale girls had no trouble in the opener, winning 44-34 to sweep the season series from their county rivals.

Breanna Richardson led the Bulldogs with 18 points and led a defense that played well, forcing 24 turnovers and holding the Seminoles to just 13 made field goals, after struggling against Alcovy on Friday.

"We put pressure on the ball, that's what I asked them to do," Rockdale coach Gladys King said. "Today we wanted to come out ... and pick up the tempo with our defense. We kind of mixed it up."

Richardson knocked down a jumper to put Rockdale (9-6) up 25-9, forcing Salem coach Rochone Dilligard to take a timeout with four minutes to play in the third. The break worked as Jennifer Tindi scored six points during a 10-2 spurt that got the hosts to within 27-19.

It was 29-20 early in the fourth before Brianna Patton, Bianca Riley and Richardson each hit a 3-pointer, the last of which from Richardson helped get the lead up to 38-24 with 4:22 to play in the game.

"(Richardson is) very aggressive on offense, she's very focused," King said. "She gives me everything she's got."

Salem (8-9) was playing without its two leading scorers, Ayanna Mitchell and Shay Tarver, who were out with ankle and hip injuries, respectively, and it showed in the first half.

The Seminoles were held to just a field goal in each of the opening two quarters, both by Kamesha Rodgers, and trailed 17-4 at halftime.

Rockdale got six early points from Richardson, a Mississippi State signee, and the Bulldogs defense was excellent during the opening half. Salem didn't score until a Rodgers layup at the 1:17 mark of the first quarter, and the Seminoles had 15 first-half turnovers.