GC's Dodd shines in boys' win, Ayden-Grifton girls top Rams

GC's Dodd shines in boys' win, Ayden-Grifton girls top Rams

AYDEN | Greene Central's Imajae Dodd finished the game just two rebounds away from a triple double on Friday night against the Ayden-Grifton Chargers.

The Rams jumped out to a quick lead, but AG kept roaring back. Greene Central closed out their regular season on Friday night with a resounding 64-57 win after staving off a last-ditch effort by Ayden Grifton. Dodd would score 18 points and collect 15 blocks and eight rebounds.

“We have never gotten off to a good start at all in any of the games we’ve played this season,” AG coach John Moye said. “We had some nerves with Senior night. Then we panicked a little bit. If we don’t let them get off to such a strong start in the first four minutes, we win this game. We kept fighting and coming back, but we can’t give a team like that a lead like that. This game is a gut check for us. We don’t want a moral victory. We want a win.”

Former Charger Jekeal Gay opened up the game with a dunk on the first possession. Greene used that momentum to go on a 10-0 in the first three minutes with Dodd getting three blocks. 

“Once we got that first shot down, we settled down and fought well. It’s just a shame it took that long to get it,” Moye said.

“We came out with a lot of energy,” Dodd said. “We got lackadaisical in the middle and it almost got us. But once we got that momentum back that we had at the beginning, we were fine. Our defense shut them down and that helped us to get set up on offense.

Dodd would later get a dunk as Greene continued to power through the Chargers. Perimeter shots by Jordan Atkinson and Moses Tufts closed the gap, but Greene still lead 16-12 at the end of the first.

“We came out with a lot of intensity,“ Gay , who scored eight points, said. “I came out strong and helped lead our team. We executed well. Got some good shots off right away.”

“We come out strong as this was our last game of the regular season, “ Rams coach Blue Edwards said. “I’m pleased how we started and finished this game, but there was some times in the middle that we lost control and our composure. Our bench didn’t perform as well as they should have. They need to play with more passion than they did.”

By the end of the first half, Dodd already had 10 points and 10 blocks. The Rams lead 30-21 at halftime. Nate Harris would score six points in the third quarter as the Chargers tried to chip away at the Rams’ lead, but the Rams held a 42-33 lead at the end of the frame.

Atkinson kicked off the fourth with a pair of three pointers from the left side.  The Chargers had closed the gap to within three points and had charged right back into this game. Josh Wright’s three pointer tied the game up with 5:30 to go, but Dodd would dunk again to help swing the momentum back.

“We let them get comfy in taking shots and you can’t do that,” Edwards said. “We let them back in. Instead of guarding them, we were chasing them. We also began to miss shots and they shifted into attack mode against us. “

Kentrell Suggs would score twice on transition plays to give the Rams a six-point lead. As the Rams kept building up their lead, the Chargers could not maintain their energy.

“We rebounded well, considering our size,” Moye said. “We shot the ball well in the second half. We just fall prey to mental lapses. We take bad shots, rush passes, and make costly turnovers. You saw that in the last few minutes. They get the ball and then go on a 6-0 run on us. That cost us.”

Atkinson would lead the Chargers with 15 points. James Richardson would have 14 and Tufts would finish with 13.

The Rams finish the season with just one conference loss. Now, they are the top team in conference for the third year in a row and look to be one of the top in the state.

“We feel comfortable in the position we are in right now,” Edwards said. “A higher seed is expected to play well and win. Now we have to play the best we can. Tonight’s game helps us because we see how we can improve before we face the competition we will face in the playoffs”

GREENE CENTRAL: Dodd 18, Johnson 13, Suggs 9, Gay 8, Hudson 8, Corbitt 4

AYDEN-GRIFTON: Atkinson 15, Richardson 14, Tufts 13, Harris 8, Wright 5, Gunter 2

The Ayden-Grifton girls basketball team greatly improved their chances of making the playoffs with a win over Greene Central on Friday night.

Led by a 10-point performance by Latoya Hardy, the Chargers took the final regular season game by a score of 39-27.

“It felt good to get that last win at home and the last win of the season.” Chargers coach Charles Kessel said. “We finished out pretty strong. Now, we just gotta see what we do in the conference tournament.”

In the first quarter, scoring was hard to come by. Greene Central’s triangle formation prevented the Chargers from breaking through to score. Likewise, Ayden-Grifton’s tough press did not allow the Rams to recover rebounds from missed shots. After the first, the Chargers led 8-3.

The Chargers would build on the momentum they had in the first by scoring 13 unanswered points. Ayden would be up 22-8 at the half.

“This was a great game for us,” Hardy said. “We played really well as a team tonight.” Six of Hardy’s 10 points came in the first half.

“She was awesome for us,” Kessel said. “She has been a sophomore but has been playing like a senior the more this season has gone on.”

Senior Caitlin Tripp hit a three pointer to help extend Ayden-Grifton’s lead to start the second half. At the end of the third quarter, Zy’kierah Andrews would score twice in the last 12 seconds to put the Chargers up 33-14.

“We knew this was going to be a high energy game,” Andrews said. “We were in their shoes last year, not winning a game in conference. We knew they were going to come out strong in the last game of the season. We just kept attacking them and didn’t let them back in. Andrews would have six points in the game.

Greene Central would go on a 10-2 run to start the fourth, but couldn't do much else.

“We just kept attacking them,” Kessel said. “We were aggressive. But this was also the third game we’ve played in four nights. So, as the game wore on, we got a little tired.  Now, we can rest and focus on the conference games next week.”

GREENE CENTRAL: Mason 16, Sutton 11.

AYDEN-GRIFTON: L Hardy 10, Little 9, Andrews 6, Tripp 5, Outlaw 4, Dosch 2, Hardee 2, M Hardy 1

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