Keys to No. 1 evident

Published 9:50 am Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Unselfishness, strong defense and good shot selection were the keys to the Bainbridge High School Lady Cats and Bearcats runs to the Region 1AAAA basketball championships over the weekend.

At least that’s the way Lady Cats head coach Latreisha Moon and Bearcats head coach Rickey McCullough felt following their team’s semifinal and final round victories in the Region 1AAAA Tournament Friday and Saturday at the Decatur County Memorial Coliseum.

I totally concur with the two coaches observations.

Let’s start out by talking about the unselfishness.

Friday night during the Lady Cats 65-56 semifinal round victory over the Hardaway High School Golden Hawks from Columbus Alexis Burke dominated under the basket in the second half when she scored 20 of her game-high 30 points.

Her teammates showed their unselfishness by feeding the ball to her time after time. She also was unselfish. Several times when she was coming down the court wide open, she passed the ball to Briana Wade, Bria Harris and Zaikia Dawson for easy layups.

The Lady Cats demonstrated that same kind of unselfishness in their 65-51 Saturday night championship game victory over the Westside Macon High School Lady Seminoles.

Unselfishness was the first word McCullough used to describe his team following their 57-44 Saturday night championship game victory over the Westside Macon High School Seminoles.

“We don’t have any super stars,” McCullough said. “We just have good players who are willing to hit the open man with a pass and score when the opportunity arises.”

A look at the Bearcats scoring chart Saturday night confirms what the Bearcats coach is talking about.

Four players were in double figures. James Lodman led the way with 16. He was followed by Melzie Johnson with 13 and Marquis Williams and Antroine Williford with 12 apiece.

When you are that unselfish and you have that kind of balance, you are going to win a lot of games.

Another key to the Bearcats tournament championship game win over the Seminoles and their 70-53 semifinal round win over the Upson-Lee High School Lady Knights on Friday was strong defense.

They, along with the Lady Cats, kept tough, tight lock down defense on their opponents throughout the tournament.

Let me conclude by talking about shot selection, the third key to victory for our two champions.

Both teams passed the ball very well and set up players like Burke, Dawson, Johnson and Williams for open looks at the basket. More times than not, when they got those open looks, they buried the shot.

All in all, it was a great championship weekend, and I congratulate coach Moon, coach McCullough and their outstanding teams.