David missed on this shot at Goliath.
Dalton High School’s boys basketball team fell short in its bid to upset fourth-ranked Marist in the first round of the Class 4A state tournament, losing 71-42 Wednesday night at the Cats Den.
The Catamounts (19-8) — the No. 2 seed from Region 7 — went 3-for-16 (18.7 percent) from behind the 3-point line and 17-for-42 (40.4 percent) from the field against the War Eagles (22-4), the No. 3 seed from what looks to be a very tough Region 6. In the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Class 4A poll, Marist is ranked fourth behind fellow region members South Atlanta (No. 2) and Columbia (No. 3).
Dalton coach Mike Duffie wasn’t disappointed in the effort of his team, even if the execution wasn’t what it needed to be.
“We needed to have an A-plus game to have a chance,” he said. “We graded out maybe a B. We battled. We defended about as well as we could defend. We didn’t shoot well.”
Marist — which had a starting lineup packed with players taller than 6 feet — also outrebounded the Cats 38-18 and gave itself the chance at second shots, something the Cats had hoped to avoid.
“They had 20 offensive rebounds,” Duffie pointed out. “That was the stat of the night.”
Rico Mears’ 10-point effort led the Cats against the Atlanta private school.
“We thought that we had a chance to beat them,” Mears said. “They’re by far the best team that we’ve played this year.”
Demond Rucker — at 6-4, Dalton’s tallest player — added nine points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.
“They were a good team,” Rucker said.
“We made a lot of silly mistakes, which hurt us.”
Marist’s Quinton Stephens, a 6-8 point guard who has signed with Georgia Tech, finished with a game-high 19 points. Like the rest of Marist’s starters, he was on the bench in the fourth quarter.
Cameron Wiley, a sophomore point guard, came off the bench to score 15 for the War Eagles, while guard Bobby Perez tallied nine.
Although David Onuorah tallied only eight points, the 6-8 performer displayed enough talent to show why he is headed to Cornell University to play next year. Greg Taboada — a 6-5, 240-pounder who mainly set screens and played rugged defense against the Cats — is bound to Stanford University as a tight end in football.
A dozen War Eagles scoring provided evidence of Marist’s depth.
“(Duffie) coached them hard,” Marist coach Greg McClaire said. “We don’t think of ourselves as a blowout squad. We were trying to do some new things. I’d give us maybe a C-plus grade for this game.”
Marist took a 6-0 lead to start, and with a conservative approach on offense, the Cats didn’t score until Mears’ field goal with 2:39 left in the first quarter. The War Eagles led 15-4 after the first quarter, but when the Cats’ Brandon Painter made back-to-back 3-pointers in the next period, Dalton cut its deficit to 21-15.
“The game turned with 1:32 left in the half,” Duffie said. “We were trailing 28-21 and we were at the free-throw line with a one-and-one. We could have cut it to five. We missed the free throw. The next thing I know, we’re down by 14 at the half.”
Trailing 35-21 to start the third quarter, the Cats scored five unanswered points to move within nine, and an exchange of baskets made the count 37-28.
Marist dominated the remainder of the quarter, 15-2, to carry an insurmountable 52-30 advantage into the final eight minutes. The War Eagles’ lead twice reached 30 points.
“In their region, they’re playing against people their size in every game,” Duffie said. “We don’t have that kind of size in our region.”
Eight seniors suited up in red and white for the final time — Alex Bautista, Cole Calfee, Karey Dills, Jackson Dinges, Robert Enck, Mears, Painter and Rucker.
“We lose all of our starters who are seniors,” Duffie said. “The house is empty. There are a lot of opportunities for other people.”
David missed on this shot at Goliath.
Region 7-4A championship
If recent history is any indication, this week’s Region 7-4A championship game may not be the last time the boys soccer teams at Dalton and Southeast Whitfield stand opposed to one another this season.
No Attack for Rampage
The Georgia Rampage’s offense didn’t do anything in the first half — evident by the scoreboard.
By the time new quarterback Bart Gloyd stepped in, a comeback was out of reach.
Former Dalton, Auburn QB Carter passes away
When former Dalton High School football coach Bill Chappell learned one of his former players had died Saturday, he was shocked. His second reaction was sadness, not just because of Loran Carter’s athletic legacy but also his outstanding character.
Prep golf: DHS, rain steady for Nob Invite
With the Region 7-4A tournament scheduled for Tuesday at Nob North Golf Club, Dalton coach Hunter Johnston was pleased that his team finally got its first victory of the season Saturday in Cohutta at the Nob North Invitational.
Doug Hawley: Cancer will not hinder Run for John’s finish
With the seventh annual Run for John races scheduled for Saturday in Dalton, there is a community focus this week on the family of the late John Bruner.
DSC women win finalé
The Dalton State College women’s tennis team earned a 5-0 win in a rain-shortened match at home against Snead State to conclude its season.
Play ball on the Westside
The long-awaited Westside Park opened to rave reviews on April 10, with baseball teams ranging from 6 to 12 years christening the the newest Whitfield County recreation facility.
Dalton High School’s baseball team started the fifth inning of Friday’s crucial Sub-region 7B-4A game against Heritage-Catoosa with four consecutive hits.
The only problem for the Catamounts was that was where their good hitting started and stopped.
Prep roundup: Upset puts N. Murray in baseball playoffs
Over the past few seasons, a late-season game with Sonoraville has been the deciding factor in whether the North Murray High School baseball team advanced to the state playoffs.
Miller, Mariners off to NAIA title tournament
Former Dalton High School golf standout Chase Miller is finishing his senior year at College of Coastal Georgia on a high note.
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