Butler focused on 'one dream'

Akeem Johnson and his Butler basketball teammates are two wins away from playing for their dream.

The senior came up with the Bulldogs' motto of "One team, one dream, that ring," and the squad can move one step closer to fulfilling its goal when Butler plays Drew at 8:30 tonight at Columbus State in the Class AAA boys state quarterfinals.

"It's the last go-round," Johnson said about the seven-member senior class. "We need to get it."

Butler (23-7) has already put together a stellar season, capturing the Region 3-AAA Tournament title at Burke County and winning two state playoff games.

But as Ronald Jones put it, "We can't turn back now."

Blocking the Bulldogs' path to a semifinal appearance in Macon is Drew.

A second-year school, Drew used two state tournament victories by a combined eight points to make it to the quarterfinals.

The trip to Columbus will be a homecoming of sorts for Cervantes Boddy.

The first-year Butler coach played high school ball there before moving on to play at Paine College. Boddy said today's game is an opportunity for his hometown to see him coach after not getting the chance to watch him play in college.

Despite a strong first season, Boddy said he hasn't given much thought to the success, as he has continued to focus on only the next game.

To get to this point, the Bulldogs beat Dougherty and then routed Peach County in the second round, 77-43.

In the win against Peach County, 11 players scored -- Chris Washington led the way with 18 points -- and five players put up at least eight points.

However, in keeping up with the idea of looking forward and not backward, Boddy said it's all about what one does today, and not about yesterday.

If Butler prevails, it would need only one more win to play on the most important date of all: March 12 -- the day of the Class AAA state championship.

The team's dream of earning those rings is getting closer, but Boddy has another reason he's hoping for a win.

The Titans beat Westside on Wednesday, and Boddy said he considers Patriots coach Marvin Fields a friend.

Not only did Drew's win eliminate hopes of a quarterfinal contest between Region 3-AAA schools, it ended another Augusta school's season.

Tonight, Butler expects to avoid becoming Drew's second Augusta victim.

"It's about Augusta and our region, showing other places we play great basketball here," Boddy said.

Today's games

BOYS QUARTERFINALS

- Class AA: Laney vs. Lamar County, 5:30 p.m. at Savannah State

- Class AA: Swainsboro vs. Thomasville, 8:30 at Savannah State

- Class AAA: Washington County vs. Eagle's Landing, 5:30 at Columbus State

- Class AAA: Butler vs. Drew, 8:30 at Columbus State

GIRLS QUARTERFINALS

- Class AA: Laney vs. Morgan County, 7 p.m. at Savannah State

- Class AAA: Butler vs. Washington County, 7 at Columbus State

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