Bearcats end region play, look ahead to state playoffs

Published 5:09 pm Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Bainbridge Bearcats wrapped up the region tournament by coming in fourth after losing both of their games over the weekend. Bainbridge put up a valiant fight, but turnovers and a lack of rest made the wheels fall off, giving them a loss on Friday, Feb. 10 to Warner Robins and another on Saturday, Feb. 11 to Harris County.

29 turnovers proved to be a fatal dosage for the Bearcats against the Demons of Warner Robins. After a high powered first half, both teams came out continuing their hot streaks in the third quarter.

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Heading into the fourth quarter, Bainbridge trailed 57-52. A fast start to the quarter saw Bainbridge pull ahead by 4 with about six minutes left in the game when the turnovers finally caught up to them. The Demons closed the gap quickly and pulled ahead on a 27-point fourth quarter effort to end the game with a high final score of 84-71.

Both teams like to open the game up and play fast, which can play to the advantage of whichever team can capitalize on turnovers and minimize their own. Sadly, Bainbridge was on the losing end of this arrangement this time.

“Warner Robins is one of those teams who like to play fast and make you play fast,” said Head Coach Terry Smith. “They take a lot of gambles, and sometimes as an offensive team you get a lot of easy baskets that way.”

The Bearcat busses pulled back into Bainbridge around 2 a.m. according to Coach Smith, and then the boys had to get back on another bus the next morning and go face Harris County.

The exhaustion was an issue in the second game says Smith, but what made a major difference was the Bearcats shooting 21-36 at the free throw line.

A flat start gave way to a flat first half, which only continued into the third quarter.

Bainbridge woke up in the fourth quarter. At the end of the third, the Bearcats were behind by 14 points, and surged back to go up by 4-points with a minute left. It was at that point that free throw shooting came into play, and Bainbridge missed opportunities from the charity stripe that could have changed the game. Harris County won the game with a final score of 56-53.

The Bearcats now face Fayette County in the first round of the state tournament. Fayette, the first seed coming out of region three, sits at 20-7 on the season.

“They’re a number one seed, “said Coach Smith. “It’s an Atlanta school, they’re style of basketball is different. They’re long and athletic so we’ve got our work cut out for us.”

Coach Smith is optimistic about Bainbridge being able to compete with Fayette County, but defense and rebounding will have to be something they improve.

“We have to not turn the ball over,” said Coach Smith. “We don’t turn the ball over, we stand a really good chance of pulling off the upset.”