Some players leave lasting impressions on sports writers

Published 7:50 pm Tuesday, January 21, 2014

In a sports writer’s career, they cover many special athletes who leave a lasting impression. For me, four of those athletes competed for the Bainbridge High School Lady Cats and Bearcats basketball teams.
I am talking about Carol Chason Whitmire and LeAnn Harrell Inlow of the Lady Cats and LaRay Davis and Rollie Choice of the Bearcats.
Chason Whitmire is a former assistant basketball coach with the University of Georgia Lady Bulldogs, former University of Florida Lady Gators head basketball coach, a member of the Valdosta State University Sports Hall of Fame (where she played college basketball) and the Decatur County Sports Hall of Fame.
Chason Whitmire also played professional basketball with the Nebraska Wranglers.
Harrell Inlow played on a national championship basketball team at the University of Georgia and a national championship softball team at Florida State University. She is a former Bainbridge High School Lady Cat head basketball coach and head softball coach.
Chason Whitmire and Harrell Inlow will always be bound together by another honor, which they earned and received.
Currently Bainbridge High School gives awards each year to the school’s male and female senior athletes of the year. When Chason Whitmire and Harrell Inlow were seniors, only one senior athlete of the year award was given.
They both won it, beating out all the male senior athletes for the prestigious honor.
Both Chason Whitmire, who lives in Jacksonville, Fla., and Harrell Inlow, who lives here with her husband Billy Inlow, a former Bearcats tennis player, played for former Lady Cats coach, former Bainbridge High School principal and my dear friend Bobby Trawick.
Former Bearcats Davis and Choice were outstanding basketball players in their own right.
Davis was the best pure outside shooter I ever covered at Bainbridge High School. Choice, who stood at 6-feet-nine-inches, would command the lane and consistently block shots.
With Davis constantly swishing the nets from outside and Choice constantly putting the ball in the basket from in close, they presented a true dilemma for opposing defenses.
Davis and Choice played for former late Bearcat head coach Charles Bess and former Florida State University Seminoles head coach Pat Kennedy, who was from my former home town of Keyport, N.J.
We moved from Keyport to Cairo when I was 12-years-old, so I did not know him when I was growing up. But his brother Wally Kennedy was a friend of mine.
When I first met coach Kennedy and found out he was from Keyport, I  asked him if Wally Kennedy was his brother. He told me he was and we just hit it off.  After leaving Florida State, Kennedy became head coach at DePaul University in Chicago.
Davis went on to become a career Army man and Choice remained in Tallahassee following his career at Florida State. I have seen Choice several times in recent years when he came back to Climax for the annual Swine Time Festival.

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