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Burke, Baulkman, McCullough take top awards

Senior forward Alexis Burke and junior forward Devon Baulkman of the Bainbridge High School Lady Cats and Bearcats are the Region 1AAAA girls and boys basketball players of the year as selected by the region coaches.

It was the second consecutive year that Burke, who averaged 26.3 points and 13.8 rebounds a game, captured the award.

Bearcats head coach Rickey McCullough, who led the Bearcats to the Region 1AAAA championship and a berth in the state Class AAAA Final 4 for a second consecutive year, was named the boys Region 1AAAA coach of the year for a second consecutive year as well.

Deb Baber, who led the Westside Macon High School Lady Seminoles to the Region 1AAAA girls championship, was named girls Region 1AAAA coach of the year.

Burke, who has signed a basketball scholarship with the University of Illinois Illini, helped lead Coach Latreisha Moon’s Lady Cats to the Region 1AAAA South Sub-Region championship and into the state Class AAAA tournament.

Coach Moon praised Burke for her great court leadership.

“Alexis could score from anywhere on the court, and she stayed focused regardless of the situation,” Moon said. “She also was a strong rebounder and defender.”

Baulkman, who averaged 21 points and 9.1 rebounds a game, was also praised for strong play and leadership.

“Devon Baulkman had a great scoring and rebounding year,” McCullough said. “He got better and better as the season went along.”

Joining Burke on the girls All-Region 1AAAA team were three Lady Cats teammates: Junior guard April Thomas, junior center Bria Harris and sophomore guard Brianna Wade

Moon said Thomas’ strong attributes are her shooting and her quickness.

“April is already a good shooter and she will continue to work hard and get even better next season,” the Lady Cats head coach said. “She is very quick and fast and those attributes allowed her to come up with some big steals and drive in for layups.”

Bria Harris is a strong rebounder and inside presence, and she will continue to improve her jumping ability, Moon said.

“Brianna Wade is a good ball handler and will be our point guard next season. I’m confident she will do a good job of bringing the ball up and setting up our offense,” Moon said.

Joining Baulkman on the boys All-Region 1AAAA team were two senior teammates, guard Justin Harris and forward Davario Thomas,

“Justin Harris was the man who drove to the basket so well for us all season,” McCullough said. “He also made some clutch late three-point shots.”

Harris averaged 10.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists a game.

Davario Thomas, who broke his wrist diving for a ball in practice late in the season, hustled and played hard every day in practice and games, McCullough said.

“He exemplified the character of our team,” McCullough said.

Thomas averaged 10.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists a game.