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Teamwork key to championships

Teamwork is probably the most important element any group of young ladies or young men on a sports team must have to make a run for a championship.

The Bainbridge High School Lady Cats and Bearcats basketball teams, who earned berths in Wednesday’s Georgia High School Association (GHSA) Final Four at the Gwinnett Arena with impressive Elite 8 round victories Friday at Fort Valley State University, have that element in abundance.

The Lady Cats play Southwest DeKalb at 4 p.m. and the Bearcats play Tucker at 5:30 p.m.

Let’s first focus on the teamwork demonstrated game in and game out by the Lady Cats.

Each one of their starters, Alexis Burke, Zaikia Dawson, Bria Harris, April Thomas and Briana Wade, bring something unique to the table that benefits the team.

Burke, as good a Lady Cats player who has ever come through Bainbridge High School, is an outstanding scorer as evidenced by her team-high 30 points in Friday’s 69-58 Lady Cats victory over the Hardaway High School Lady Hawks from Columbus, but she is also an outstanding passer.

Because of her scoring ability, Burke is often double teamed. When she is, she is very adept at getting the ball to a teammate for an open shot.

Dawson, who is very adept at driving through traffic in the lane for layups and grabbing rebounds and getting put backs in close, is always strong down the stretch.

Harris’ unique strength is her rebounding. She can always be counted on to control the offensive and defensive boards.

Thomas’s strength is her tremendous quickness. Opponents have a difficult time staying with her defensively.

Briana Wade, although just a freshman, is a very strong defensive player who can steal the ball from a unsuspecting ball handler in a second.

Turning to the Bearcats, their starters, Antroine Williford, James Lodman, Melzie Johnson, Marqus Williams and Eric Vickers, bring unique abilities to the table as well.

Williford’s most dominant ability is his rebounding. His rebounds and put backs were a major factor in the Bearcats 50-46 Friday win over Statesboro.

Lodman’s leaping ability is a tremendous strength. His two second-half slam dunks Friday gave the Bearcats a lot of momentum.

You can count on Johnson to be in double figures in scoring and rebounding almost every night. He is adept at both hitting three-point and two-point baskets from the outside and driving strong to the basket for layups.

Williams is as good a 3-point shooter as I have ever seen at Bainbridge High School. When the Bearcats need an offensive lift, he seems always there to provide it.

Vickers is a very strong defensive player, but he often comes up with big shots to make the difference in a game as well.