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State basketball playoffs: Dunwoody too much for Flowery Branch

POSTED: March 12, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Scott Rogers/The Times

Flowery Branch High's Rashad Tate , left, guards Dunwoody High's Delwan Graham during the first half of the Falcons' loss Saturday night at the Mt. Zion High gymnasium.

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JONESBORO — One play can sum up what the Falcons were up against Saturday night against Dunwoody.

With five seconds left in the first half, Dunwoody’s Chris Singleton stole an errant inbounds pass, took two steps and flushed home a dunk as the buzzer sounded.

That play capped off Singleton’s remarkable first half, where the Florida State signee and McDonald’s All-American scored eight points, pulled down 14 rebounds and blocked 11 shots. He finished the game with 10 points, 22 rebounds and 16 blocks.

Singleton and the rest of the Class AAA third-ranked Wildcats (27-3) proved to be too much for the Falcons to handle, and Dunwoody cruised to a 75-51 win against Flowery Branch (26-4) in the quarterfinals of the Class AAA state tournament on Saturday at Mount Zion High in Jonesboro.

"Dunwoody’s about as good a team as anybody we’ve seen all year," Falcons coach Todd Cottrell said. "When they’re on, it’s hard to stay with them."

The loss for the Falcons, ends their remarkable season in which they went from an eight-win season last year to winning 26 games and the Region 7-AAA title this season.

"It’s a tough way to end a good season," Cotrell said. "Our guys put a lot of heart and soul into this season. I’m proud of these guys. They were the first team to accomplish a lot of things at Flowery Branch."

Unfortunately for the Falcons, they were unable to continue their improbable season.

With Singleton manning the paint, the Falcons were never able to get anything going offensively.

Trailing by 22 points at the half, the Falcons weren’t able to cut into that deficit, as the Wildcats outscored Flowery Branch 17-12 in the third quarter and 13-12 in the fourth.

Leading the charge on the offensive end of the floor for Dunwoody was senior and LSU signee Delwan Graham, who finished the night with a game-high 23 points. Graham was one of five Dunwoody players to score in double figures.

And although the game was pretty much out of reach after the conclusion of the first half, the Falcons never gave up.

Before fouling out in the fourth quarter, junior Izaan Cross handled his own against the taller Singleton. Cross finished with a team-high eight rebounds. Senior A.C. Bailey closed out his high school career with a strong night, scoring a team-high 12 points and grabbing four rebounds.

Josh Barrett chipped in with nine points for the No. 8-ranked Falcons.

With their first successful season now complete, Cottrell believes that the Falcons’ program is headed in the right direction, and playing against a team like Dunwoody will do nothing but help his players.

"We want to get to that level," Cottrell said. "This is a good experience and I hope it makes these guys more hungry."



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