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Decatur High winter sports recap: Bulldogs teams end winter season with medals, championships

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Decatur High winter sports recap: Bulldogs teams end winter season with medals, championships

The Girls' Varsity Basketball team poses for a photo at the DHS Gym. Photo provided by Head Coach Nick Deloach.
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By David McFarland, contributor 

Decatur, GA — The Decatur High Bulldogs added multiple region championships and two state medals during the winter sports season.

Girls Basketball 

Decatur’s Girls’ Varsity Basketball team had quite the challenge as it balanced a changing of the guard with its high on-court expectations. Despite the departures of three key starters to graduation, the Bulldogs could still finish as region runner-ups and make a playoff appearance under first-year Head Coach Nick Deloach. Two players were named to the All-Region Team – sophomore Dejah Raine and freshman Nadiya Mohamed.

“We faced the obstacle of being young and not having the experience, but still found ways to compete at a high level,” said Coach Deloach.

Injuries were a problem for the team this year, and the Bulldogs were frequently limited to only five to seven available players (a starting lineup consists of five). Nonetheless, Decatur still managed to go 6-5 in region play and 9-13 overall before its first-round playoff exit against the Bradwell Institute, with quite a few memorable wins.

“This season was filled with some great moments,” said Coach Deloach, highlighting Decatur’s 50-31 victory over MLK in the last home regular-season game. “As I entered the locker room, the team sprayed me with water as we celebrated.” 

Decatur also hosted a Recreation Night where rec basketball players came to watch a Varsity game and then joined the team in the locker room for a Q&A session after the game, a “pretty cool” experience for Coach Deloach and the team. 

Overall, though, 2024 was a season of growth for a young team.

“The team learned that we are hard-working and resilient. This team did not give up regardless of any circumstance,” Coach Deloach said. “This team learned how to overcome adversity when things didn’t go our way. This team learned that being disciplined and accountable are key elements in sports, but more importantly in life.” 

Boys Basketball

Decatur’s Boys’ team added a second-straight region trophy to its silverware cabinet, pulling off the upset against number one seed Tucker in the region tournament 64-61, with a game-winning three-point shot coming with 15  seconds left. Decatur boasted a strong 20-8 overall record (9-2 in its region) and won its Round 1 playoff clash with Greenbrier 60-42 before eventually falling to Warner Robbins 69-76. Three of its stars were recognized as All-Region players: seniors Luke Brooks and Alden Daniels and sophomore Bryce Howson.

Swimming

Decatur’s Swim team had quite the year, with sophomore swimmer Isaiah Lewis winning the school’s first State Championship in five years. Lewis won the Boys’ 50-yard Freestyle with a time of 21.21 seconds, keeping his status as the fastest 50-freestyler in Classifications 4A and 5A intact. Both teams performed quite well overall, following up with a 3rd (Girls) and 4th place (Boys) finish at the County Meet and 10th and 15th, respectively, at the state meet hosted by Georgia Tech.

Along with Lewis’ victory, four other school records were broken at state: Lewis in the 100 freestyle (47.17), William Sollie in the 500 freestyle (4:48.60), the Girls 200 Free Relay (1:42.04 by Melanie Joyner, Laura Durbin, Greta Tell, and Olivia McKenley), and the Boys 400 Free Relay (3:20.08 by Lewis, Sollie, Luca De Winne, and Aiden Franklin). 

Wrestling 

The wrestling team claimed a medal for the first time in three years thanks to sophomore Ronin Simms’ fifth-place finish at the state tournament. Head Coach Nicco Salvador’s debut season was quite a success, with the team ranking 6th at the DeKalb County Meet and 3rd in its region. Simms and Lucian Brock finished as champions at the Region Meet, with the former going all the way to the state semifinals, ultimately landing 5th place in front of thousands of spectators at the Macon Centreplex.

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