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LOCAL COLLEGE ROUNDUP: Darton golf goes low, wins Coastal Georgia Invitational; ASU men's, women's hoops swept by Benedict; Lady Rams' Thomas named Newcomer of Week again

Led by individual low medalist Joe Sakulpolphaisan, third from left, and coach Bill Jones, center, the Darton College golf team captured the team title Tuesday at the Coastal Georgia Invitational. (Darton College/Special to The Herald)

Led by individual low medalist Joe Sakulpolphaisan, third from left, and coach Bill Jones, center, the Darton College golf team captured the team title Tuesday at the Coastal Georgia Invitational. (Darton College/Special to The Herald)

ST. SIMONS ISLAND — Joe Sakulpolphaisan is on a roll.

And now it appears as if his Darton College golf teammates finally joined him.

In just their second tournament of the spring season, the Cavs rebounded from a dismal team performance in their first by dominating the final round of the Coastal Georgia Invitational on Tuesday at the Sea Island Golf Club’s Retreat Course at St. Simons Island.

Sakulpolphaisan, meanwhile, hasn’t been bitten by the struggle-bug once this season as he continued to stay red-hot individually by winning low medalist for the second straight tournament. Sakulpolphaisan also won top honors in last week’s Titan Winter Invitational, while Darton stumbled as a team, finishing sixth.

But with a new week came a new attitude, and the Cavs showed no hangover from last week on Tuesday, going from two shots back in second place after Monday’s first round to soaring past leader Coastal Georgia for a staggering 21-stroke win.

“They came out this morning and just took control,” Darton golf coach Bill Jones III said of his team.

Sakulpolphaisan, a sophomore from Thailand, won the 13-team tournament overall by nine strokes.

“You don’t see that too often,” Jones said of his sophomore leader’s final-round performance. “It was impressive.”

Sakulpolphaisan finished in the lead Monday with a 5-under 67. He then shot a 66 on Tuesday to cruise to the win.

“I’ll have to check some records, but I want to say (Joe’s score is) our lowest 2-round total ever,” Jones said. “It was some really, really solid golf.”

As a team, Darton shot 295 on Monday, followed by a 286 on Tuesday to finish the tournament at 2-under

Sophomore Shad Tuten, of Elberton, had the second-lowest score for the Cavs, shooting 76-74, for a two-day total of 150 strokes. Freshman Chase Jones, of Chatsworth, totaled 151 strokes, shooting 78-73. Freshman Nick Green, of Covington, shot 79-73, to total 152, and freshman Neil Graham, of Douglas, shot 74-82 to total 156.

The Cavs’ next scheduled tournament is the annual Ron Marshall Spring Fling at Goose Pond Colony in Scottsboro, Ala., on March 15-17.


BASKETBALL:

ASU's Thomas honored by conference

ATLANTA — For the second time this season, Albany State women’s basketball star April Thomas of Bainbridge was named the conference’s Newcomer of the Week after her outstanding performances in two games last week.

Thomas lead the Lady Rams to a 63-61 victory against Clark Atlanta University and was the leading scorer in ASU's 65-56 loss to Fort Valley State University.

Thomas scored a combined 42 points in those two games, including 24 points against Clark Atlanta and 18 against Fort Valley.

Thomas currently leads the conference in scoring at 18.2 points per games, and leads all freshmen in free-throw percentage (.716), 3-point field goals made (65), and 3-point field goal percentage (.355).

The ASU basketball team is playing three back-to-back home games this week, which started Tuesday against Benedict College, then Paine College on Thursday and Claflin University on Saturday.


Lady Rams lose first of three straight home games Tuesday against Benedict; men fall, too

ALBANY — As the regular season draws to a close, wins are becoming harder than ever to come by.

And with the Albany State women’s basketball team opening up a three-game home stretch Tuesday against Benedict with a loss, its postseason future is starting to look shaky with the conference tournament approaching Feb. 28 in Atlanta.

Benedict downed ASU on Tuesday, 65-58, despite a team-high 22 points and three steals from Bainbridge’s April Thomas and 13 points and five rebounds from Symone Wilkerson. Former Randolph-Clay star Precious Peak added four points and eight rebounds, but it wasn’t enough as Albany State fell into a 38-26 halftime hole and never recovered to drop to 8-15 overall and 8-11 in the conference. The latter record drops ASU into a tie for the eighth and final spot in the conference with Kentucky State, and only the Top 8 teams make the conference tournament.

ASU, which committed 22 turnovers in Tuesday’s loss, will try to turn things around Thursday when it hosts Paine, which is in second-to-last place. The game will mark the first of three final regular-season games for the Lady Rams.

BENEDICT MEN 59, ASU 53: The Rams fell to 10-13 overall and 9-13 in conference play after Tuesday’s tough home loss to the Tigers, who turned a tie game at halftime into a six-point win.

The fourth-place Tigers bumped ASU down to ninth place in the conference standings with the loss, and the Rams are now in danger of missing the tournament at the end of the month if they don’t win out, starting Thursday at home against fifth-place Paine.

Rachard Lofton led the Rams with 13 points, while Michael Tippins added 11 points and seven rebounds in the loss.