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Bearcats down Pirates

Melzie Johnson poured in a game-high 15 points to pace a balanced scoring effort and lead the Bainbridge High School Bearcats to a 70-57 Tuesday night victory over the Miller County High School Pirates at the Decatur County Memorial Coliseum.

Johnson was one of three Bearcats in double figures. Eric Vickers put in 13, and James Lodman scored 10.

Johnson brought the crowd to its feet with 4:20 left in the game when he went high above the rim to take a pass and put it in, giving the Bearcats a 65-42 lead.

The Pirates’ Colby Gilbert countered with a three-point jumper from the right side at the 3:09 mark to cut the lead to 20, at 65-45.

Behind the three double-figure scorers in the Bearcats’ scoring column Tuesday night were Marquis Williams with 9, Davario Thomas with 5, John Taylor with 4 and Rodney Glenn with 2.

Colby Gilbert and Will Martin scored 14 points apiece to lead the Pirates scoring effort. Zevario Shuler and Jarret Rahymes added 7 apiece, Cosby Salters scored 5, Trey Morgan and Jamar Jones contributed 4 apiece and Tony Grier put in 2.

The game was close early.

The Bearcats led just 16-15 at the end of the first quarter. They outscored their visitors 17-10 in the second quarter to take a 33-15 halftime lead.

A 22-13 third-quarter scoring edge sent the Bearcats to the fourth quarter with a 55-38 lead. The Cougars outscored the Bearcats 19-15 in the fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late.

Bearcats coach Rickey McCullough said he thought his team’s depth and quickness were a factor in the game.

“We had more depth and were able to bring in back-ups who contributed,” he said. “Our quickness gave us an advantage on both ends of the floor.”

The Bearcats returned to action Thursday, taking on the Blounstown, Fla., High School Tigers in the Subway Shootout at Chipola College in Marianna, Fla.

They began play Friday in the Maclay School Christmas Tournament in Tallahassee, Fla. Play will continue today and conclude Monday.