Bearcats lose to Veterans and Tift

Published 4:42 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2017

By Powell Cobb

Managing Editor

The Bainbridge Bearcats laced up to play their first Region 1-AAAAA game of the season and took on a 16-1 Tift County team over the weekend, losing both games.

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Bainbridge is 3-11 and on three game losing streak. Coach Terry Smith said he was going to have to do a better job at preparing his players for games.

Last Friday night’s game at Veterans was a defensive struggle. The game ultimately came down to how Bainbridge played in the first quarter, Smith said.

“We had bad start defensively,” Smith said. “They outscored us 29-16 in the first quarter. That was the difference in the game.”

The slow start put Bainbridge behind all night, going into the locker room at halftime down 43-27 and 64-44 after the third quarter. The Bearcats allowed only 10 points from the Warhawks in the fourth quarter while pouring in 15 of their own, but they couldn’t play catch up fast enough.

Seniors Maleke Lurry and Milton Gayle both had 14 point on the night. Jeremiah Davis added 10 to the board, 9 of which came from 3-pointers, and Jaylen Jones had 9.

The game went relatively smooth from the free throw line as Bainbridge hit 22 of 29. Bainbridge was 17 of 50 shooting from the field.

The Warhawks were 22 of 48 from the field and hit 27 of 35 free throws. Senior Josh Linder lit up the scoreboard with 27 points for Veterans, going 9 of 11 from the field and going 75 percent from the free throw line (9 of 12).

“We left really early and made a stop to have a little walkthrough. That might have had something to do with it,” Smith said about the reason the Bearcats might not have come out firing with the energy they needed. “You get them ready to come and ready to play. I got to do a better job at practice of getting them ready that way, and I expect them to be better prepared.”

Saturday night, the Bearcats returned home to host an on-fire Tift County (AAAAAAA), who won 72-25.

The Bearcats were down 33-13 at halftime and struggled to keep up in the second half, only adding 12 more points to the board as the Blue Devils poured in 39 more points.

“We just didn’t compete,” Smith said. “That falls back on me. I got to get them ready and more fired up to play such teams.”

Smith said he and Tift County coach Eric Holland run similar schemes, so the game was an opportunity for the Bainbridge players to see it executed well.

“It was one of those things where the kids could see this is where we are trying to get to,” Smith said. “They are a great team.”

Bainbridge returns to action against Colquitt County this Friday. Top off is 7:30 p.m.