ROCKDALE – The Conyers Classic came to an end Saturday afternoon and the DeKalb County programs that took part had varying degrees of success against their opponents.
However it was the Arabia Mountain Lady Rams who ultimately took the silver bracket victory with a win over South Gwinnett.
The Lady Rams won in three sets with scores of 25-16, 23-25 and 15-5.
“In the last match Deja Mcleod had 19 assists which is great as is 12 kills from Mia Sterling. Deja dominated the final set winning I think nine straight points on serves,” head coach Bruce Pfleger said. “It was great for me as everyone on the team had meaningful contributions today. We started off badly but ended on a high note. Winning Silver is great but it’s really only ninth place overall. We are a good team but don’t compete well with the elite programs.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Miller Grove, Druid Hills and Arabia Mountain High all took part in the Silver Bracket held at Rockdale on Saturday while the Gold Bracket featured Clarkston at Salem High.
MLK fell to Miller Grove in the opening round of the Silver Bracket while Clarkston battled across the county at Salem with Warner Robins. Clarkston fell in two sets with scores of 25-13 and 25-23.
“I think the thing about tournaments is to test and push the boundaries a team may have,” Clarkston head coach Joie Bullock said. “It’s a good way for developing players to gain experience without affecting the really important games of the season.
“This year I believe this tournament has helped my players stay focused on just playing their best game,” she continued. “A lot of times when there’s so much noise, excitement, and other things going on in the gym, the girls find it hard to stay focus for long periods of time. And staying focused is a crucial part of playing this game. My team is so young as far as experience with some of the other teams. Playing in a tournament against powerhouse teams really puts things in perspective. Champions power other champions. My girls want to be champions.”
With the victory over MLK, Miller Grove had a date with Arabia Mountain for a chance at the Silver Bracket Championship.
Arabia Mountain struggled against Druid Hills before facing Miller Grove. In the first set, things were simple and the Lady Rams carried a 10-3 lead to the 25-17 victory. However in the second set, Druid Hills took a 4-1 lead over Arabia Mountain.
A few errors in the middle of the set hurt Druid Hills and allowed Arabia Mountain to tie the match up at 13-all.
A brief lead change to Arabia Mountain soon found both sides battling for lead as four ties over the next eight points set up a dramatic 21-21 match.
Arabia would take the first point to break the tie and knocked the final three points in to take the 25-21 set two victory.
“We were down 100 percent of our outside hitters today,” Druid Hills head coach Adrienne Johnson said. “A lot of our girls were playing out of position today. The ACT was today so a lot of our juniors and seniors were out but I’m very proud of how my girls adjusted. They sort of stuck it out and played hard despite all playing in different positions than their used to. So that gives me a lot of encouragement because I know that these girls are smart enough and athletic enough to make some changes when we’re down five players.
“Of course it wasn’t the way we wanted it but there are some bright spots and shining moments,” she continued. “Some of our young players stepped in and filled some gaps today so that means next year we have a lot to look forward to in terms of playing.”