Win or lose on Tuesday, the Dalton State College men’s basketball team can call the return season a success.
It’d be nice if the Roadrunners finish with one more victory, though.
Dalton State will play its final game of the 2013-2014 season, the first basketball campaign in 35 years for the college, at 7 p.m. in the trade center against the visiting Tennessee Temple from Chattanooga. The night is also designated as a “Green Out” to support the GreenHouse in Dalton, a child advocacy center that serves Murray and Whitfield counties. Fans can purchase GreenHouse T-shirts ($10 for short sleeves and $15 for long sleeves) at the game or in advance at the Dalton State athletic department offices on College Drive.
Dalton State already played and beat Tennessee Temple once this season, but Roadrunners coach Tony Ingle admits this game may be the one the program wants to win more than any other.
“Everybody will tell you we definitely want to win,” Ingle said. “If there’s any game all year, it’s this one. It’s a long time from Feb. 25 to whenever the first home game is next year in November. We definitely want to finish on a high note. There’s no doubt about that.”
That makes sense. Heading into the season, Ingle tempered expectations and classified the season’s outlook as question-filled. The Roadrunners could struggle, or they could make a great first impression. The latter happened, as Dalton State holds a 25-4 record after winning Saturday in Brunswick against the College of Coastal Georgia.
Dalton State won its first game of the year in Mobile, Ala., against Spring Hill College. The Roadrunners won their first home game, too. Both were exciting moments in the program’s rebirth, but ending the season with a win isn’t about relaunches or rebirths. All teams want to enter the offseason winning that final game.
It’s also a big night for Dalton State’s three seniors — Demetrice Jacobs, Desmond Phillips and Ricky Sears — as the Roadrunners celebrate senior night. Jacobs and Sears are starters, the latter leading the team in scoring and the former in the top three along with junior Preston Earle. Phillips is a valuable role player off the bench for Dalton State.
“When scheduling, I wanted to make sure our last game was at home,” Ingle said. “I was very fortunate to have that because of our seniors. You want to give a recognition to them.”
• Northwest Whitfield’s girls basketball team is playing Redan at 6:30 p.m. today in second round of the state tournament — and is the biggest event with the most at stake — but another fun scene should be Friday night in Tunnel Hill.
Northwest renews its soccer rivalry when it hosts Southeast Whitfield. The girls play at 5 p.m. while the boys play right after in a Sub-region 7B-4A match. Remember, this is a rematch the returning Bruins would love to win. It was on the same field almost a year ago when Southeast won 2-0 in the Class 4A state semifinals and ended Northwest’s season in overtime.
• This week is also filled with local high school baseball teams playing one another, and that starts today when Dalton begins its season at 5:30 p.m. with a trip to Christian Heritage, which is 2-0. One day later, Coahulla Creek hosts Murray County at 5 p.m. and Northwest begins its year at home at 5:30 p.m. against the same Christian Heritage team. Dalton hosts Coahulla Creek for a 5:30 p.m. start.
Finally, on Friday, Dalton welcomes Christian Heritage in a rematch at 5:30 p.m., while Coahulla Creek hosts Northwest at the same time.
Devin Golden is a sports writer for The Daily Citizen. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @GoldenDev