Bearcats advance with 64-60 win

Published 12:06 pm Monday, February 27, 2012

Bainbridge High School's Dontavious Marshall shoots a three-pointer during Saturday night's first-round state tournament game against Effingham County.

The Bainbridge High School Bearcats outscored the Effingham County High School Rebels 12-8 in the final 2:36 of the game here Saturday, to post a 64-60 victory in the first round of the State Class AAAA basketball Tournament.

The Bearcats will play in the second round Wednesday, Feb. 29, against the Alcovy High School Tigers at 6 p.m., in Covington, Ga. The Region 1-AAAA Bearcats enter the game with a 26-4 record, while the Region 3-AAAA Tigers are 26-3.

Bearcats head coach Rickey McCullough said that Alcovy is a very good team.

“Alcovy’s point guard Josh Echols, who is a running back on their football team, has signed a football scholarship with Duke and they say he might walk on with the Duke basketball team,” McCullough said. “Michael Tucker, one of their wing players, is also very strong.”

With the score tied 52-52 with 2:36 remaining Saturday night against Effingham County, Paul Chukes hit a three-point jumper from the left wing to put the Bearcats ahead 55-52.

Guard Dontavius Marshall followed with another three-pointer from the right side, to make it 58-52 with 1:36 remaining. He had five three-pointers on the night and finished with a game-high 16 points. He and Chukes, who finished with 15 points, both said that they were very confident that they would hit their shots.

“They were getting me the ball in good position and I had good looks at the basket,” Marshall said.

“It was just one of those nights when I was feeling it from three-point range,” said Chukes.

Rodney Glenn also had a big night, finishing with eight rebounds, five steals and five assists to go along with his 12 points. Trea Kelly was also in double figures, with 10 points.

Glenn and McCullough agreed that Effingham County was the best defensive team the Bearcats had faced all season.

“They put a lot of pressure on you in their man-to-man defense,” Glenn said.

“We knew after watching film on them that they were an outstanding team,” McCullough added.

McCullough said both teams were more aggressive offensively in the second half. In the first half Saturday, only three total fouls were called; in the second half, both teams had at least 10 fouls.

“Both teams really turned up the aggressiveness in the second half,” he said.

The game was close throughout. The Bearcats trailed 17-14 at the end of the first quarter, 30-26 at halftime and 43-41 after three quarters.

The Rebels’ Jay Wright took game-scoring honors with 21 points. Jakeenan Grant was also in double figures for the Rebels, with 12 points.

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