When Rockdale struggled against host Salem Friday, it went to its one starting holdover from the 2010-11 team that reached the championship less than a year ago.
Junior C.J. Wilson put in 30 points, including several key 3-pointers to lead the Bulldogs over Salem 72-68.
Wilson scored all but 10 of his points in the second half, and Rockdale overcame a fourth-quarter deficit.
Salem led 63-58 before scoring five straight points.
Charles Moore tied it on a 3-pointer before Ahmad
Mitchell put Salem back on top. From there, Rockdale led the rest of the way when David Jelks, who provided the Bulldogs with a spark on the glass, gave it a lead it wouldn't relinquish.
Jelks finished with 15 points, but more importantly to the Bulldogs, also had 14 rebounds. Salem gained its momentum throughout the game on the offensive and defensive glass, until Jelks stepped in.
With Jelks grabbing the rebounds on one end and Wilson finishing at the basket at the other, Rockdale won its fifth straight. The streak is the Bulldogs (13-5, 4-0 Region 8-AAAA) longest of the year.
Salem was led by Dedrik Turner with 17 points and Marques McKoy with 14.
Salem 57, Rockale 47
The Salem girls' basketball team showed its leadership outweighed its youth in a matchup of the two top teams in Region 8-AAAA subregion B on Friday.
The Lady Seminoles defeated cross-town rivals Rockdale 57-47 behind the efforts of their standout freshman. Ayanna Mitchell scored 23 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and had three steals as Salem handed the Lady Bulldogs their first region loss.
Mitchell scored 15 of her points in the second half, including eight of her 13 free throws.
Leading 24-20 at halftime, Mitchell scored the first four points of the third quarter as Salem opened the second half on a 6-2 run. Rockdale wouldn't pull within five points the rest of the way.
The Lady Bulldogs scored 11 straight to make it 46-41 in the fourth quarter but Salem's Nikkira Brown hit a field goal followed by a pair of free throws by Shay Tarver.
Brown finished with 12 points and Danielle Thomas added seven points and 12 rebounds for Salem.