This past week was a tough one for the Thomson High School Bulldogs as they won only one of three basketball games.
After dropping games to Elbert County on Jan. 10 and in overtime to West Laurens last Friday night, the Bulldogs returned to the friendly confines of the Dog House on Saturday where they pulled out a three-point region victory over the Burke County Bears.
The Bulldogs of longtime Head Coach Michael Thomas simply took the game to Burke County, jumping out to 20-3 lead in the first four minutes. Thomson's one-time lead of 17 points in the first period dwindled to 10 by the end of the period, 26-16.
They had to cling to dear life late in the game, because of a red-hot scoring surge by the Bears, who outscored the Bulldogs 21-9 during the fourth period. Thomson's defensive efforts prevailed in the end as they held on to win 73-70.
Thomson freshman center Jonathan Atkins, who turned in a sensational inside game, was the leading scorer with 19 points. He also recorded a number of key rebounds. The only other player to score in double figures was Brandon Turman with 12 points.
Other Thomson players scoring in the Burke County game included: Richard Johnson, 9, DeAndre Williams, 8, Rashad Berry, 7, Dexter Sneed, 6, Ronkeem Sallywhite, 5, Radney Tutt, 4 and Marvin Ramsey, 3.
Burke County was led by JaQuez Rozier with 16 points and Martaveous Smith with 15 points.
After trailing 32-30 to the Bears with 3:54 to play in the second period, Thomson's Dexter Sneed, a senior, proved his exceptional defensive skills and ability to score. He stole the ball on two straight occasions and came running back down court to score a pair of layups that gave the Bulldogs a 36-32 lead. Atkins later connected on a reverse layup to extend Thomson's lead to six points. Just before the half, Ramsey, who played his usual aggressive game, grabbed a rebound and went the distance of the court, scoring on a driving layup.
In the game against West Laurens, Thomson lost 72-66 in overtime. During the overtime period, the Bulldogs were out-shot 19-8. It turned out to be the biggest scoring stretch of the game. Both teams stayed close during regulation play.
Atkins, again, led the Bulldogs in scoring with 21 points. He was followed by Johnson and Turman with 15 each.
Thomson didn't fair as well at the free-throw line, hitting on only 14-of-24 shots.
The Bulldogs' other loss was a 63-61 heartbreaker to Elbert County.
Four Thomson players placed in double figures. They included Johnson, 17, Darius Eubanks, 12, Williams, 10 and Turman, 10 points, respectively.
Thomson's next three games are all on the road. They will play the Baldwin Braves on Friday night in Milledgeville before taking on Richmond Hill in another region battle Saturday. Next Tuesday, they travel to Louisville to take on the Jefferson County Warriors.