Rockdale leading scorer and All-region guard Connor Ferrell came into the game sick, All-region guard Jalen Jordan was on the second game of a two-game suspension for being thrown out of a game after two technicals against Newton, but All-region forward Dwayne Brown was at full strength and it showed.
The Wildcats of Valdosta fought tooth and nail and clawed at the Bulldogs heels, but couldn't overcome a feisty Bulldogs team as Rockdale won 60-56.
Brown started the game off with an easy layup off a pass from Ferrell. The Bulldogs would start the game on an 11-3 run after a trey from Brown put Rockdale up by eight.
Ferrell, who picked up two fouls and was forced to sit at the 5:08 mark in the first period came back into the game with the Bulldogs down 12-11. Valdosta would take a 15-11 lead into the second quarter.
The second period was a back-and-forth affair, but the Bulldogs took a 28-24 lead after draining a three with time running off the clock entering halftime. Quickly coming out of halftime, Ferrell picked up two questionable offensive fouls and was forced to sit yet again.
Still, Brown and co. maintained without their All-region guard and extended the lead as far as 10 points before Bulldog mistakes let them back into the game. Valdosta managed to finish the third on a 14-4 run, and the game was tied at 38 entering the fourth quarter.
Rockdale was getting beat on the offensive glass by an undersized Wildcat team, simply by not boxing out. The Wildcats took a 48-43 lead with under five minutes to play before Brown pulled down an offensive rebound and got the putback to bring the game within three.
Valdosta turned the ball over directly after a timeout and Ferrell woke up on a slow night draining a three after Brown found him while being double by Valdosta to tie the game at 48.
Valdosta's best defense was taking charges against a bigger more athletic Rockdale team which would explain why Brown fouled out at the 2:36 mark with the Bulldogs down 50-48.
Sadique Baker got a steal and got fouled going for the layup. He went 1-2 at the line. The Bulldogs got a good defensive stop on the other end and Ferrell did what he's been doing all season and hit a three in transition to take a 52-50 lead.
The Wildcats were able to get to the foul line yet again and hit two to tie the game at 52 with 1:12 left. Adam Ellis responded hitting a nice floater in the lane that bounced in off the back rim to put Rockdale up 54-52 with less than 40 seconds left.
The Wildcats got to the line again, and missed both free throws, but they got two offensive rebounds and were able to tie the game off a putback teardrop.
With 12.5 seconds left, RCHS head coach Tyrone King called timeout and Ferrell caught the inbounds pass in the backcourt, but missed the game-winning three.
Up 55-54, Ferrell fouled out at the 2:22 mark in overtime. Despite the significant amount of free throws Valdosta got, they weren't able to connect and Elijah Williams went 1-2 at the line to extend the lead to 56-54 with 2:02 left.
Two Wildcat free throws tied the game at 56. Ellis gets to the line and goes 1-2 to put the Bulldogs up 57-56. Great defense from Rockdale again and Ellis goes 1-2 at the line again. With the Bulldogs up 58-56, with 27.9 seconds left
Ray Washington recorded the save of the year as he recovered the ball in Valdosta territory after a Bulldog fell down as the ball was being thrown to him. The Bulldogs would win 60-56.
Brown finished with 26 points and Ferrell added 13. Rockdale will travel to play Shiloh Saturday at 6 p.m.