The Dalton State basketball team is ready to live up to its name. The Roadrunners have hit the road for the first of three games in three states.
Wednesday night’s game will be at the Arthur R. Outlaw Rec. Center on the campus of Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL. with a 7:00 p.m. CDT tip-off.
The birds then migrate to Clinton, MS. for a Friday night, 7:00 p.m. CDT start.
Belhaven University will be the hosts, but due to problems with the gym at Belhaven, the game will now be played at A. E. Wood Coliseum, also known as The Golden Dome, on the campus of Mississippi College.
The third game will be in Central, SC against Southern Wesleyan University. Tip-off on Tuesday, Nov. 5, will be 7:00 p.m. EST. A sell-out crowd is expected on Thursday, November 7, for the first home game at the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center. That game will tip-off at 7:00.
Before leaving Tuesday afternoon, Roadrunner Coach Tony Ingle announced that the starting line-up for Wednesday night’s season opener is set.
“We’ve waited a long time,” Ingle said. “Our players have worked very hard and we are very excited about finally playing someone else.”
They are senior shooting guard Ricky Sears, power forward Raheem Mosley, strong forward Preston Earle, point guard Sean Tate, and 3-man (wing) Demetrius Jacobs.
He’s one of our go to guys,” Ingle said of Sears. A star Alabama junior college player from Decatur, AL, Ingle said the 6’1”, 190 lbs. guard. “I know this town is ready for basketball,” said Sears. “We’re going to give them a show.”
Earle is said to be “an athletic lefty who can do it all.” The 6’4”, 190 lbs. junior, from Charlotte, NC, played JUCO at Valley Community College in Hickory, NC. He started 26 games last season, averaging 13 points per game and with a 75.4% free throw percentage.
“He (Earle) has been one of the toughest and hardest working players on this team during practice,” said Ingle. Earle sees the first ever four year team for Dalton State as a competitive group. ”We’re all going to play together,” he said. “We will be trouble.”
The coach calls Mosley a “very tough competitor.” At 6’9”, 205 lbs. and “very athletic”, the Bessemer, AL. native is an excellent rebounder and is good at blocking shots. Mosley played JUCO ball at Marion Military Institute.
Tate is said to be a “true point guard”. Ingle believes the 5’8”. 140 lbs. junior from Sequoyah High in Canton “will be a crowd favorite because of his tenacity on defense, his quickness, and offensive skills.” As a high school senior, Tate scored 24 points and had five assists per game as the Chiefs completed an undefeated regular season and finished 29-1.
Jacobs is said to be “highly skilled”. The 6’4”, 195 lbs. senior is from Harlem, NY. is, “one of the best individual players on the team. As a sophomore, he helped Missouri State-West Point to a 31-4 record and a number one junior college ranking.
From the beginning, Coach Ingle stated his intention to recruit players from across all classes. The first year Roadrunners will have three seniors, seven juniors, two sophomores, and three freshmen.
Dalton State players come from six states, but only one local high school graduate is on this year’s team. 2009 Dalton High graduate Caz Cole is a junior. Cole’s father, Lawrence, played for Coach Mel Ottinger’s first Dalton Junior College team.
Dalton State coaches say the opening game opponents will be ready to play. Spring Hill College returns all of the starters from last year’s squad that finished last season with 4 wins and 25 losses. They were just 3 and 15 in the highly competitive Southern States Athletic Conference.
“They’re a very good team,” Roadrunner assistant John Redman said. And he should know. Redman came to Dalton from the Mobile school.
One of those returning Spring Hill starters is Coach Redman’s brother, Ben. The 6’2”, 180 pound sophomore point guard is recovering from a concussion and is not expected to play against Dalton State.
Belhaven University battled injuries last season to finish with a 12-18 overall record (8-10 in the conference). The Blazers lost their leading scorer from last season, Jordan Butts, to graduation but return their assists leader. Chris Cofield had 104 assists and 37 steals last season.
Radio play-by-play of 21 Roadrunner basketball games is scheduled to begin with the home opener. The broadcasts will also be available on the Dalton State website and on the Mix 104.5 website. Live stats of Dalton State basketball games are available at www.dsroadrunners.com
Many of Dalton State’s competitors are in the Southern States Athletic Conference. A Pre-Season SSAC poll released this week is as follows:
- William Carey (190)
- Faulkner (179)
- Emmanuel (169)
- Martin Methodist (155)
- Mobile (123)
- Loyola (116-Tied)
Southern Polytechnic 116-Tied)
- Bethel (108)
- Auburn Montgomery (96)
- Belhaven (83)
- Southern Wesleyan (78)
- Coastal Georgia (62)
- Spring Hill (43)
- Blue Mountain (30)
- Brewton-Parker (27)