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In first game as region's new No. 1, Darton rolls

Lea Henry and the Darton women have now won eight straight, including knocking off region No. 1 Georgia Highlands over the weekend and Atlanta Metro on Tuesday.

Lea Henry and the Darton women have now won eight straight, including knocking off region No. 1 Georgia Highlands over the weekend and Atlanta Metro on Tuesday.

ALBANY — Lea Henry won’t take credit for it, but her Darton Lady Cavaliers are rolling right now.

Darton won its eighth straight Wednesday, the latest 65-40 against struggling Atlanta Metro to keep hold of sole possession of first in the Region XVII standings. Now 18-2 overall and 10-1 in conference play, there’s no denying the Lady Cavs — who moved up to No. 15 in the nation in Wednesday’s latest NJCAA Top 25 poll — could be in for a special ride.

“We’ve just got some really good players that play hard and are committed to our system,” Henry said. “They’re athletes and they work hard.”

What about the coaching job she’s done in just her second season at Darton?

“We try to do a good job,” Henry said with a smile. “But you’re never a good coach unless you have good players.”

Lady Cavs sophomore Michelle Mitchell continues to be one of the best in the conference and she filled up the stat bucket again Wednesday with 19 points, eight rebounds, four blocks and four steals. Atlanta Metro, winless in conference play at 0-9 and 4-10 overall, had no answer for Mitchell and the Lady Cavs, who were coming off a huge win over 15-3 Georgia Highlands Monday to take over first in league play.

“We talked about (a letdown) a lot,” Henry said. “They’re young, and we were so excited about that game (vs. Georgia Highlands).”

Atlanta Metro kept it close for most of the first half before the Lady Cavs closed with a 13-0 run before the break to take a 40-21 lead.

Kadayasha Jones started the spurt with a putback of her own miss to go up 29-21 with 3:20 remaining in the first. Tamarah Fisher closed the run with a lay-in to help put away Metro Atlanta, which never led after falling behind 8-0 early.

Metro had to play the final seven seconds with just four players after two players fouled out with an active roster of six.

After winning 20 games last season before falling in the semifinals of the GCAA tournament, Darton seems poised for a deeper run.

“We’ve just got to stay focused,” said Lady Cavs sophomore center Crystal Reed, who scored eight points to go with seven boards and two blocks. “We work hard every day in practice. We just play together as a team.”

Jones finished with 10 points and seven rebounds in the win. Fisher added eight points and nine boards.

Darton begins a three-game road trip Sunday against Chattahoochee Tech in Smyrna before a huge conference game Wednesday at Central Georgia Tech. The Lady Cavs return home Jan. 30 against Andrew College.