More than halfway through their respective basketball seasons, Chamblee’s boys’ and girls’ basketball teams have defeated those opponents that most observers expected them to beat, but neither team has pulled off a signature upset.
Such was the case this week.
On Tuesday, Chamblee hosted Columbia, whose girls’ and boys’ teams are holding the first place position of sub-region A of 6-AAAA. Although the Chamblee boys played a valiant second half, they lost 57-53, and the Lady Bulldogs suffered a lopsided 51-28 defeat.
“In the six losses we have had, we have lost to the number-one team (Columbia), number-three team (Marist), and number 10 (Grady),” said Chamblee head basketball coach Caesar Burgess. “We are in a very tough region, and this team is doing exceptionally well without (Davin) Bellamy.”
Late in second quarter, Columbia’s boys team engineered a 14-3 run, which gave them a 32-19 halftime lead. In the second half, Chamblee (8-6, 3-4 in the region) chipped away at the deficit. With 3:36 to play in the third quarter, Chamblee trailed 36-31; but, by the end of the quarter, Columbia had re-established a 46-36 advantage.
“In the first half, we played scared. In the second half, the boys laid it all on the line. We made stops and did a better job of guarding their three-point shooters,” said Burgess. “We had some chances to pull this off, but we did not make our free throws.”
Midway through the fourth quarter, Chamblee went on a 10-0 run and cut Columbia’s lead to 52-49. In the final two minutes of the game, the Eagles went into a four-corner offense; and, when a Chamblee player fouled a Columbia player, the Columbia player did not miss the free-throw attempts. In the final 90 seconds, Columbia went five for six from the free-throw line.
The Lady Bulldogs (11-6, 4-3 in the region) could not handle Columbia’s pressure defense. When the Lady Eagles ran a press defense, the Lady Bulldogs deserted their point guard, which led to turnovers and easy layups for Columbia.
At halftime, Columbia had a comfortable 26-8 lead. In the third quarter, the offensive woes continued, and Chamblee only scored three points. The Lady Bulldogs’ offensive problems were self-inflicted. Chamblee shot 10 for 21 from the free-throw line, with the only bright spot being forward Ashli Hodges converting five of six. Despite being a 31 percent three-point shooting team, the Lady Bulldogs settled for low percentage three pointers and only made four of 14.
The Lady Bulldogs bounced back with a 54-46 win over South Atlanta on Friday. With leading scorer Candace Rhodes serving a two-game suspension, guard Auriana Broughton scored 19 points, and the Lady Bulldogs converted nine of 13 free throws.
The Bulldogs have a favorable schedule this week. On Tuesday, Chamblee traveled to Washington High School, and the Bulldogs will host Therrell Friday at Chamblee.