Bearcats defeat Veterans, lose to Harris County in overtime

Published 4:45 pm Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Coach Terry Smith said both of the Bainbridge Bearcat basketball team’s games last weekend came down to one thing: defense.

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Friday’s game at Harris County came close and went into overtime, with the Bearcats losing 68-65. Bainbridge returned home with a chip on its shoulder and took down Veterans 55-46 Saturday night for its second Region 1-AAAAA win.

Bainbridge (6-13) was tied 57-57 with Harris County going into overtime. Crucial rebounds gave the Tigers the edge as they poured in 11 points and sealed the win.

“We gave up 68 points, so our defense wasn’t good,” Smith said. “We didn’t rebound it.”

Despite outrebounding the Tigers 39-36, Bainbridge’s grabs weren’t well-timed.

Smith said he has been preaching to his team all season long they will face players taller than them. While you can’t coach height, there is one thing Smith drills into his players at practice.

“It comes down to positioning,” he said. “We just didn’t do a good job for rebounding. A lot of them came from missed free throws.”

Thirty turnovers haunted the Bearcats throughout the game, many of which came late in the fourth quarter and in overtime. Harris County committed 22 turnovers.

Milton Gayle led Bainbridge with 20 points, going 6-of-17 from the field. Maleke Lurry also had a strong game with 16 points and Jaylen Jones added 10 to the board.

The lone 3-pointer of the night came from sophomore Jeremiah Davis.

The attitude quickly changed for Bainbridge as they hosted Veterans (8-9) Saturday night at the Bainbridge Gym.

“They had a chip on their shoulder,” Smith said, referring to the team’s 74-59 loss to Veterans on Jan. 6

Again, it all came down to defense.

“Any time you can hold a team under 50 points, it’s defense,” Smith said. “We went up there and played them and they beat us by 15. You come back down and you hold them to under 50 points. No ifs, ands and buts, the defense won us that game.”

The win puts Bainbridge at 2-3 in the region, tied with Veterans for third behind Warner Robins (4-0) and Harris County (3-1). With six games left on the schedule, three of them region games, Smith said a strong finish is crucial heading into the region tournament.

Smith said scoring hasn’t been the issue of late. In the last five games, Bainbridge has poured in 298 points. But the defense is now the focus on the practice court.

“We are pretty good on offense, and defensively they got a good idea against a great team like Veterans that they do have the potential to play great defense,” Smith said. That’s how we win ball games.”

Bainbridge played Thomasville in Bainbridge Tuesday night and will host region leader Warner Robins Friday at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, the travel to Thomas County Central for a 7:30 p.m. game.