BHS basketball teams Final 4 runs top 2009 sports stories

Published 2:37 pm Thursday, December 31, 2009

The top 10 2009 Decatur County sports stories range from the Bainbridge High School Lady Cats and Bearcats basketball teams winning the Region 1AAAA championships and advancing to the state Class AAAA Final 4 to the Lady Cats tennis team winning the Region 1AAAA championship and advancing to the Elite 8 of the state Class AAAA Tournament.

No. 1Lady Cats, Bearcats reach Final 4

Coach Latreisha Moon’s Lady Cats and coach Rickey McCullough’s Bearcats began their trip to the state Class AAAA Basketball Final 4 at the Gwinnett Arena by winning the Region 1AAAA championships at the February Region 1AAAA Tournament at the Decatur County Memorial Coliseum.

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In the championship games, both teams defeated Westside Macon High School. The Lady Cats defeated the Westside Macon Lady Seminoles 65-51 behind a balanced scoring attack that featured three players in double figures. Alexis Burke led the way with 22 points. Bria Harris added 16 and Zaikia Dawson put in 12.

The Bearcats defeated the Westside Macon Seminoles 57-44 to nail down their Region 1AAAA championship. The Bearcats put four men in double figures in the championship win over the Seminoles. James Lodman took-game scoring honors with 16. Melzie Johnson added 13 and Marquis Williams and Antroine Williford scored 12 apiece.

In the Final 4, the Lady Cats bowed 80-48 to the Southwest DeKalb High School Lady Panthers and the Bearcats bowed 72-66 to the Tucker High School Tigers. The Lady Cats were led by Zaikia Dawson with 19 points and Alexis Burke with 16. The Bearcats were led by Marquis Williams with 23.

The Lady Cats won 17 of their last 18 games and finished 21-6. The Bearcats won 18 of their last 19 games and finished 27-4.

No. 2Smart top college assistant coach

In December, No. 1 ranked and undefeated University of Alabama Crimson Tide defensive coordinator and former Bainbridge High School Bearcat and University of Georgia Bulldog defensive back Kirby Smart won the Frank Broyles Award, which goes annually to the top assistant coach in college football.

Coach Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide will play the undefeated Texas Longhorns for the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) national championship Jan. 7 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

The award, named for the long-time University of Arkansas Razorbacks head coach, was presented at the Little Rock, Ark., Rotary Club at the Doubletree Hotel.

Smart, whose defense is ranked No. 1 nationally in total defense, and second nationally in rushing defense, is the son of former Bearcats and Rabun County High School Wildcats head football coach Sonny and Sharon Smart. He helped lead his father’s 1993 Bearcats team to the Region 1AAAA championship, a 10-7 road victory over the perennially powerful Valdosta High School Wildcats and a berth in the state Class AAAA semifinals.

After the 1993 season, the Region Sportswriters named him Region 1AAAA defensive player of the year. At Georgia, he was an All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) defensive back.

No. 3 BHS sports program Region 1AAAA’s best

Strong finishes by Bearcats and Lady Cats sports teams earned Bainbridge High School the nine-team Region 1AAAA’s All Sports Trophy in May.

It marked the first time Bearcats and Lady Cats teams won the All Sports Trophy since sine the 1974-75 school year when BHS Principal Tommie Howell was a BHS junior.

During the 2008-2009 school year, BHS teams won Region 1AAAA championships in boys cross country, girls cross country, boys basketball, girls basketball, girls tennis and boys track and field.

Howell and Bearcats head football coach and Decatur County School System Athletic Director Ed Pilcher both praised the coaches and athletes for their dedication and hard work.

“This school year our Region expanded from four to nine schools that geographically encompass more than one-third of the state of Georgia, and the student athletes representing the purple and gold fared quite well,” Howell said. “The All Sports Trophy is a very big honor and every athlete and every coach in each of our sports contributed to it.”

Pilcher added. “We are very proud of each of them. It was a team effort.”

No. 4Martin-Wells first woman Bass Master Classic qualifier

In 2009 Decatur County angler Pam Martin-Wells became the first woman to qualify for the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society’s (BASS) Bass Master Classic scheduled for Feb. 19, 20 and 21, 2010, at Lay Lake near Birmingham, Ala.

In February 2009, she caught 38 pounds, 10 ounces of bass on Neely Henry Lake near Gadsden, Ala., to win the three-day BASS Woman’s Tournament, and pave the way for her BASS Woman’s angler of the year honor that qualified her for the Bass Master Classic.

She had the biggest bag, which tipped the scales at 15 pounds, 4 ounces, at the final weigh-in.

No. 5 Road named for Walden

A former teammate, former University of Georgia Bulldogs fullback Bill Godfrey, along with city, county and state officials joined family and friends at Bainbridge College’s Charles H. Kirbo Regional Center in April to honor Bainbridge resident and former Cairo High School Syrupmakers All-State halfback University of Georgia Bulldogs Southeastern Conference leading punter and running back and Pittsburgh Steelers two-time Super Bowl champion punter Bobby Walden during a ceremony naming a portion of a Decatur County road in his honor.

The portion of U.S. 84 in Decatur County from the Grady County line to the traffic light on Whigham Dairy Road within the limits of Wiregrass Georgia Parkway was dedicated as the Bobby Walden Highway under a resolution passed by the Georgia General Assembly and introduced by Rep. Gene Maddox of Cairo.

No. 6Adams has great kicking year

Bainbridge High School Bearcats junior punter and place kicker Keenan Adams completed a great kicking year by being named first-team All-State punter by both the Georgia Sportswriters and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

His great year also included a school record 52-yard field goal against the Cairo High School Syrupmakers, breaking the record of 49 yards set by Stephen McRae against Dothan Alabama’s Northview High School in 1991.

Adams was also named first team kicking specialist on The Albany Herald’s All-Area Team and first team All-Region 1AAAA punter and place kicker by the Region coaches. He led Region 1AAAA with a 39.8 yards per punt average. He had five punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line and a long punt of 61 yards.

Of his 33 punts, 13 were fair caught and four were returned for just 26 yards.

As a place kicker, he connected on 17 of 19 extra point attempts, and seven of 12 field goal attempts. Along with his record 52-yarder against Cairo, Adams had two more field goals of beyond 45 yards. He had 36 kickoffs for a 53-yards-per-kick average and seven kicks that went for touchbacks. He had a long kickoff of 65 yards.

No. 7Bearcats track team extend championship run to 11

In May, coach Larry Cosby’s 2009 Bainbridge High School Bearcats track team extended the consecutive Bearcats track Region championship run to 11.

They captured the title at the Region 1AAAA meet at Westside Macon High School. They were led by top performers Eric Henry, Dan Campbell and Shawn Samuels.

Henry was first in the 400-meter run with a time of 49.15 seconds, and was on the first-place 4-by-400-meter relay team with Octavious Scott, Campbell and Samuels that took first in a time of 3 minutes, 24.78 seconds.

Campbell was first in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.61, and the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 38.37.

Scott and Denzell Gamble captured firsts in the long jump and triple jump with leaps of 20 feet and 46 feet, 6 inches, and Delonte Martistee captured first in the high jump, clearing the bar at a height of 6 feet, 6 inches.

No. 8Hughes, Pilcher honored

Bainbridge Georgia Industries for the Blind executive director and former Thomasville High School Bulldogs and Colquitt County High School Packers head football coach Jim Hughes, and Bainbridge High School Bearcats head football coach Ed Pilcher were honored with two Georgia High School Association awards on June 6 in at the association’s annual luncheon in Dalton.

Hughes, who won three state championships, two at Thomasville in 1973 and 1974 and one at Colquitt County in 1994, and had a career coaching record of 247-102-4, was introduced for his induction into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame by coach Pilcher, who also received a special award at the luncheon.

Pilcher received the Dwight Keith Award, which goes annually to a Georgia coach in commemoration of Dwight Keith’s service as secretary of the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association for 35 years and his enduring contribution to amateur sports in Georgia and the nation.

No. 9 Middle school sports rivalry ends

The sports rivalry between the Bainbridge Middle School Tigers and West Bainbridge Middle School Eagles that generated many exciting moments for fans through the years officially came to an end with the conclusion of the 2008-2009 school year’s seventh- and eighth-grade basketball seasons.

This year, with seventh- and eighth-graders moving to the old Bainbridge High School building and ninth- through 12th-graders moving to the new Bainbridge High School near Climax, everyone is now Bearcats.

West Bainbridge Middle School closed, bringing the curtain down on the Eagles’ era, and, while Hutto Middle School is still open, its student body consists of fifth- and sixth-graders, who do not play middle school varsity level sports.

No. 10Lady Cats tennis makes Elite 8

In the spring, coach Nicki Shockley’s Bainbridge High School Lady Cats tennis team won the Region 1AAAA championship and advanced all the way to the Elite 8 round of the State Class AAAA Tournament.

After turning in a 6-0 Region 1AAAA regular season record, the Lady Cats nailed down the Region 1AAAA championship with a 3-0 victory over the Hardaway High School Lady Golden Hawks from Columbus in the final round of the Region 1AAAA Tournament at Bill Reynolds Sports Park Tennis Complex.

In the championship match with Hardaway, Anna Wells downed Amber Thomas 6-0, 6-0 at No. 3 singles, Caroline Rollins and Anne Reynolds downed Sasha Buddle and Erin Beasley 6-0, 6-0 at No. 1 doubles, and Kelsey Lambert and Malori Maxwell downed Casey Cason and Jasmine Salomon 6-0, 6-0 at No. 2 doubles.

In the first two rounds, the Lady Cats posted 5-0 victories over the Thomas County Central High School Lady Yellow Jackets and Americus-Sumter County High School Panthers.

In the first round of the state Class AAAA tournament, the Lady Cats swept the Effingham County High School Lady Rebels at the Carole Simpson Floyd Tennis Complex.

Katie Monson, playing at No. 1 singles, downed Chandel McDonie 6-1, 6-4; Kylie McGlincy, playing at No. 2 singles, downed Erin Hall, 6-4, 6-0, and Anna Wells, playing at No. 3 singles, downed Emily Waltz 6-2, 6-1.

In doubles, the No. 1 team of Caroline Rollins and Reynolds downed Paige Rahn and Taylor Mondello 6-4, 6-0, and the No. 2 team of Lambert and Maxwell downed Hanley Hall and Rebakah Rahn 6-1, 6-1.

In the state Class AAAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 round at the Carole Simpson Floyd Tennis Complex, the Lady Cats earned their way to the Elite 8 round with a 3-1 victory over the Evans High School Lady Knights.

McGlincy downed Kara Hardin 6-3, 6-2 at No. 2 singles, Rollins and Reynolds downed Jenny Shepherd and Summer Fields 6-3, 6-2 at No. 1 doubles, and Lambert and Maxwell downed McKenzie Brune and Elizabeth Beitzel 6-2, 6-3 at No. 2 doubles.

The Lady Cats dropped a tough, tight 2-3 match to the Glynn Academy High School Lady Red Barons at the Carole Simpson Floyd Tennis Complex in the Elite 8 round.

McGlincy, downed Vanessa Vakili 6-2, 6-0 at No. 2 singles, Monson was leading Lady Red Baron Christie Nunnemann at No. 1 singles when they were removed from the court because the match had already been decided.