The Bearcats couldn’t make ends meet at Warner Robins in the Class 5A quarterfinals, falling 69-48 to the Demons

Published 7:48 pm Friday, February 28, 2014


Senior guard Tavares Bowens searches for an open man in the fourth quarter against Warner Robins. The Bearcats struggled against the Demons’ tight defense and aggressive offense. — Powell Cobb

The Bearcats hit the road for a second time this week for the Class 5A quarterfinals in “Demon Country,” also known as Warner Robins High School. Bainbridge was outplayed by the Demons (27-2) and they finished their season with a 19-12 record.
But the end is nowhere in sight for coach Rickey McCullough and the young team of Bearcats ready to get back on the court next season.
“We should be pretty good the next two years with them developing,” McCullough said.
Of the starting five, three players were sophomores: guard Tyree Crump, guard Devontae Jones and center Trevon Shaw.
McCullough said the experience of getting to the Elite Eight this season is invaluable for next season.
Thursday, the Demons rushed the court quickly, pressing hard and scoring basket after the basket. The Bearcats struggled to adjust, the first quarter ending with Warner Robins ahead 23-11.
The Bearcats closed the gap as best as they could before halftime. A 3-pointer by Stephen Johnson and a series of free throws by Tyree Crump helped push them to a 35-27 score at the end of the second quarter.
“We were down eight points at Mundy’s Mill,” McCullough said. “We just needed to cut the lead in the third quarter. We needed to cut the lead in the third quarter. We got it to six, but we couldn’t keep up.”
Warner Robins scored 15 more points in the third quarter, still ahead 50-39. Crump, normally the biggest scorer for the Bearcats, was double-guarded and struggled to get off his signature 3-point shots. The Bearcats were shutdown in the fourth quarter, held to only nine points with the Demons pouring in 19. The game ended with both teams’ second-string players on the court.
“We didn’t get on the court prepared from the start,” senior forward Stephen Johnson said. “We came out on the court kind of sluggish.”
The Warner Robins crowd made the atmosphere even more hostile for the visiting Bearcats with their loud cheers.
“We knew how it was going to be going into it,” McCullough said about the Demons’ fan base. “But it will help them the next time they’re in that kind of situation.”
According to McCullough, the best thing the Demons did was offensive rebounding. Warner Robins player Nathan Curtis scored 22 points for the night.
With the win, Warner Robins advances to the Class 5A Final Four Saturday. The two winners will play each other in Macon for the state championship.
Despite the loss, Bainbridge was able to pick apart the areas they need to work on most.
“We need to pick up our intensity on defense,” McCullough said. “Nobody turns the ball over or misses a shot on purpose, but everybody can hustle, box out and do those kinds of things.”
For now, the Bearcats will rest before hitting the weight room soon to prepare for the next season. With more training camps and chances to play this summer, McCullough and the team have time to build and develop.
As for the season that’s ending, the team looks back on their record with a smile.
“We had a pretty good season,” Johnson said. “We had a lot of stuff that brought us down, but we made it through it.”

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