The region champion Lady Bulldogs emerged victorious in their first round match-up against Charlton County.
The Lady Indians entered the contest with a 14-9 record, having lost four of their final five games of the regular season. Their luck would not change as the Bulldog offense managed to rattle off 71 points behind the strong guard play of Prencis Harden, who recorded arguably her best outing of the season, scoring 40 points while pulling down 25 rebounds. N’uturi Smith contributed another 18 points with 8 rebounds, while junior Olivia Collins added 8 boards to keep the high-scoring ECI offense in constant transition.
The men’s team fell short, facing off against the Irwin County Indians. The Bulldog defense plays strong in the paint and within the perimeter, but the Indians had no intention of spending much time there. The Bulldogs were unable to eliminate the long-range abilities of the Region 2 champs. The Dawgs fell 82-49.
In a season of ups and downs, the men’s team was able to achieve one of their many goals this season, a playoff berth. With that and a solid core of veteran players returning, the Bulldogs expect to build on this year’s successes.
Next on the slate for the Lady Bulldogs would be another southwest Georgia opponent, the Pelham Hornets. Pelham entered the Sweet 16 with an 8-2 record, relying heavily on their smothering defense throughout the season.
For the year, the Hornets had not allowed more than 45 points in a single game and their opponents averaged only 37 points per game. However, Harden would have something to say about that.
For a Pelham team that prides itself on defense, Harden was able to carve up the Hornets for 33 points and 16 rebounds. Her four-year complement, Smith, would add 14 points and 11 boards.
The Lady Dawgs will travel to Greenville for an Elite 8 match-up against the 14-0, Region 5 champion. Greenville presents the toughest task yet for the Lady Dawgs, averaging 71 points per game and coming off a 28-point thumping of Mt. Zion. Game time is set for 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 3. Unfortunately, at this time, the Merriwether County School System is not allowing any fans at the game. Streaming will be available through the Greenville Middle/High School website as well as the ECI Facebook page.