Cedartown, playing in front of a very energized, near sellout crowd at the Doghouse, used a 22-4 run to start the game and they never looked back en route to a 56-44 win over St. Pius X in the first round of the Class AAA state basketball playoffs.
"First of all, I want to thank the fans of this community for coming out and supporting these kids like they did tonight," Head Coach Benji Frazier said. "These boys deserved to play in front of a crowd like this and they responded well. I also want to thank these kids for playing so hard and leaving it all out on the floor. This is a great win."
The Bulldogs (20-9) got a typical strong performance from senior Brandon Brown, who finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds, but it was senior Dewayne Jupiter who provided the lift in the first half.
The smooth shooting lefty hit three shots from beyond the arc in the opening half and tallied 11 points at the break as Cedartown led 7-2 after the first quarter and 29-15 at halftime.
St. Pius X (12-17) trailed by 14, 39-25 late in the third quarter, but when Brown picked up his fourth foul and had to come out of the game the Golden Lions went on a 12-2 run to cut Cedartown's lead to 41-37.
But the Bulldogs didn't panic and responded by outscoring the Golden Lions 15-7 to end the game and pick up their first state win in a long time.
"I think our last state win in boys basketball was in the 1990's," Frazier said.
Jupiter finished with 16 points and five boards for the Bulldogs, the No. 2 seed out of region six, while Dion Smith tallied 12 points and five rebounds.
For St. Pius X, the No. 3 seed out of region five, they were led by Andy Leipold who hit five three-pointers and finished with 15 points. Justin Harris had 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Golden Lions as no other player had more than seven points.
Cedartown will now turn their attention to North Hall in the second round of the Class AAA state playoffs. North Hall, the fourth seed from region seven, upset No. 5 ranked and Region 8-AAA champion Franklin County in round one, 54-44.
The Bulldogs will host North Hall this Wednesday, however no time has been set yet.
To read the complete story on this state playoff basketball game and to see more pictures, please visit our prep sports Web site at www.prepcentralonline.com. Once on that Web site, click the Cedartown team page at the top of the screen to view the rest of this story and other Cedartown sport stories.