By Devin Golden
MOBILE, Ala. —
Once again, Dalton has a college basketball team traveling hundreds of miles to represent the city.
And like the Roadrunners of old, the winning tradition continues.
The Dalton State College hoops team is returning home victorious after Wednesday’s 69-66 victory against Spring Hill College at the Arthur R. Outlaw Rec Center. It was the first game for the Roadrunners since the close of the 1978 season.
Dalton State paused athletics for more than three decades before re-launching sports this academic year with men’s basketball as the flagship of the program. The new players hoping to resurrect the winning-rich tradition — established under the Dalton Junior College name from 1968 to 1978 — did quite well in the school’s return to the hardwood.
“The guys showed a lot of heart,” Dalton State coach Tony Ingle said. “I’m real proud of our guys.”
In a game not decided until the final play, Spring Hill (0-1) could not get a tying 3-point shot off with 0.4 seconds remaining after Dalton State’s Sean Tate knocked down a pair of free throws. On the preceding possession, the Badgers’ Ty McCants missed a go-ahead 3-pointer with just three seconds left.
“We had big buckets and big defensive stops,” Ingle said.
Dalton State’s Ricky Sears returned to the school he played for last season and scored 22 points, tied for Dalton State’s best with Demetrice Jacobs. Sears sank four 3-point shots, including back-to-back 3-pointers in the first half to cut Spring Hill’s biggest lead of the game to just one point. Spring Hill led 34-33 at halftime, and neither side led by more than five points in the second half.
With 2:58 left in the game, Sears had a steal and layup, giving Dalton State a 64-59 lead and enough cushion to force Spring Hill to foul toward the end.
Jacobs led with four of Dalton State’s 16 steals and also had nine rebounds.
“I was trying to do whatever it took to win,” Jacobs said. “We try to use our speed on defense because we’re real small.”
Jacobs said Dalton State will be overlooked in a lot of games.
“Some teams will think we’re a pushover because they don’t know what to expect,” he added.
Raheem Mosley scored 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Roadrunners. Spring Hill was led by Frederick Gaston’s 15 points.
Dalton State’s next game is Friday at 8 p.m. at Belhaven University.