Have a blessed and merry Christmas

Published 6:24 am Wednesday, December 15, 2010

With Christmas day coming up a week from Saturday, I would like to take this opportunity to wish my loyal readers and sources along the sports beat a very blessed and merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year.

The highlights of 2010 were many, including Coach Rickey McCullough’s Bainbridge High School Bearcats winning a second consecutive Region 1AAAA basketball championship and earning a second consecutive berth in the State Class AAAA Final 4 last winter.

They were led by junior Region 1AAAA player of the year and All-State forward Devon Baulkman, who has gotten the Bearcats off to another strong start this season.

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Also having an outstanding season were coach Latreisha Moon’s Region 1AAAA regular season champion Lady Cats basketball team.

They were led by another outstanding player, senior forward Alexis Burke, who is currently having an outstanding freshman season with the University of Illinois Lady Illini.

Like Baulkman, Burke was the Region 1AAAA player of the year and an All-State selection.

The biggest sports story of the year came on Saturday, May 15 when coach Larry Cosby’s Bearcats track team won the State Class AAAA track championship in Jefferson. It was the first state track championship in school history.

Among those leading the Bearcats to the state championship were the 4-by-100-meter relay team of Shawn Samuels, Brandon Handsford, Thomas Smiley and Denzel Reynolds with a first place finish.

The 4-by-100-meter relay team’s time of 41.31 seconds was the best in the state of Georgia in all classifications last spring.

Individually at the state meet, Denzel Gamble captured a pair of second places, with a 14.41-second 110-meter hurdles time and a 47-foot, 4.5-inch triple jump. Reynolds took third in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.80.

Another spring sports highlight came on Friday, March 19 when senior right hander Peyton Willis hurled a no hitter for coach Scott Miller’s Bearcats baseball team, defeating the Westside-Macon High School Seminoles. a fellow Region 1AAAA foe, 6-1.

On May 8, the Lady Cats tennis team finished runners-up in the state tennis tournament, capping a phenomenal season.

I feel that I am truly blessed to have had the opportunity to cover the Decatur County sports beat for this fine newspaper for more than 40 years.

It’s been a great ride and I am looking forward to continuing it for as long as my health permits.

I thank former publisher Sam Griffin, current publisher Jeff Findley and the fine people at Boone Newspapers for the great ride.