Bearcats defeat Syrupmakers

Published 5:04 pm Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Bainbridge High Bearcats won their second game of the season Saturday evening when they defeated the Cairo Syrupmakers 71-43 in the annual rivalry game. This was the team’s second win in the last three games after they started the season on a four game losing streak under new head coach Terry Smith.

The transition to a press heavy man-to-man defense and a fast paced offense predicated on getting to the hoop for easy baskets has taken time, but Smith is finally seeing his young team buy into the new system.

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“They actually played the defensive scheme the way it should be played,” Smith said. “We wound up taking five or six charges. It takes time that transition year you first come in. Trying to teach a team to play man-to-man instead of zone, it takes time for those guys to get comfortable with the system.”

The Bearcats (2-5) were lead by senior Jacquez Bruton who had a team high 14 points in the win over Cairo while shooting 5-of-6 from the field and 4-for-4 from the free throw line.

“He only missed one shot all night so pretty much everything he put up was going in,” Smith said. “He is one of those seniors that has really bought in. He’s understanding his role. He’s understanding the offensive system. He had a complete game Saturday, by far his best game.”

The team’s defensive pressure enabled them to take a 15-6 lead at the end of the first quarter and a 35-24 lead into half. The Bearcats then overcame their recent second half challenges to pull away for the 71-43 victory.

“We have on our defensive board that we try to hold opponents to 48 points and we held them to 43 points,” Smith said. “That was huge for us from a defensive stand point. Offensively, we are getting much better. The guys are buying into the system and they did a really great job at executing our half court offense on Saturday night.”

A major part of the team playing strong in both halves was Maleke Lurry staying out of foul trouble and giving the team a consistent presence in the paint. He was second  on the team with 10 points and also had seven rebounds.

“He is by far the most physical player on our team,” Smith said. “He is one of the two guys that got a lot of playing time last year. He was the sixth guy for them last year. It is huge for him to stay out of foul trouble and give us a complete game.”

The team returned to the court on Tuesday with an away game against Colquitt. The Packers defeated Bainbridge 65-42 earlier this season.

“During that game we missed 19 shots at the basket in the first half,” Smith said. “I didn’t even look in the second half. I think that is one improvement; we are now making shots at the basket. They have some quick guards and from a foot speed standpoint I don’t think we really can keep up with them. We won’t press as much as we did last time. We are going to try to make it a half court game.”

The team travels to Blakely on Tuesday, Dec. 20 for a game against Early County.

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