Looking forward to another great season of basketball

Published 6:07 pm Friday, November 28, 2014

Tuesday when coach Kelvin Cochran’s Bainbridge High School Lady Cats and coach Rickey McCullough’s Bainbridge High School Bearcats host the Colquitt County High School Lady Packers and Packers in their season openers, I will be beginning my 44th year of Bainbridge High School basketball coverage.

During those years, I have covered some outstanding coaches like the late Bearcats head coach Charles Bess, Bearcats head coach Jeff Page, former Lady Cats head coaches Bobby Trawick, Steve Hartzog and LeAnn Harrell Inlow, Bearcats head coach Jeff Page and Florida Circle of Champions Hall of Fame coach McCullough, who had an outstanding career at Chipley Florida High School before coming to Bainbridge to take over the Bearcats program.

I also covered many great players like Decatur County Sports Hall of Famers Raleigh Choice, who played basketball at Florida State, LeAnn Harrell Inlow, who played basketball at Georgia and softball at Florida State, and Carol Chason Whitmire, who played basketball at Valdosta State University and is a member of both the Valdosta State University and Decatur County Sports Halls of Fames.

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Whitmire also played professionally with the Nebraska Wranglers and was an assistant coach with the University of Georgia Lady Bulldogs and head coach of the University of Florida Lady Gators.

Currently, at the end of each school year, Bainbridge High School presents an award to the male and female senior athletes of the year. For a number of years, only one senior athlete of the year award was given.

That was the case when Chason Whitmire and Harrell Inlow were seniors and they won the award by beating out all the male senior athletes that school year.

Other great ones I covered include Benn “Horse” Anthony, Jack Washington, Tommy and Ronny Gaines and Dot Pierce. Anthony is the only player I covered in my 44-year career that made first team All-Region in both football and basketball. After graduation he signed a basketball scholarship with the Auburn Tigers and played four years for the Auburn basketball team.

Under NCAA rules, an athlete who has played four years in one sport can have one year of eligibility in another sport. When he first went out for the Auburn football team in the spring following his basketball career, he was fourth on the tight end depth chart. By the end of spring practice he had taken over the number one spot on he tight end depth chart. He started at tight end for Auburn throughout the following fall.