Bainbridge ThunderCats finish second at national tournament

Published 5:37 pm Wednesday, July 19, 2023

The Bainbridge ThunderCats are YBOA National Championship runners-up. The team fell to the Lakeland Fire 36-35.

Coach Willie Scott said he’s proud of his guys for what they’ve accomplished in their first year together. 

“We did great, for our first year,” he said.

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The championship game was close throughout, and the teams stayed within 3 points of each other for the entirety of the fourth quarter. With less than 5 seconds left, the ThunderCats called a timeout with the ball on their side of the court. After a team huddle, the players inbounded the ball to get a shot off before the buzzer, and it fell short. 

“It’s a mistake we can’t take back,” Scott said. “I take the blame for it.”

He said he had been watching the Fire throughout the season. He knew about them from the organization’s national titles at multiple age levels in recent years. He started monitoring them  when the Fire’s 10u team earned a a top national rank this season. The ThunderCats took that top spot from them in June, and Scott started to focus on them more. 

“That’s what we wanted the whole year,” Scott said about a final matchup against the Fire. “Once I knew we were on the way to being number one, that’s when I started watching them more.”

ThunderCat player Terrell Martin was awarded co-MVP for his performance in the championship game. Scott said it was great to see that after how the game ended.

The team played and won four games before the final. Scott said the teams at the tournament were the best competition they’ve played this season. 

“We’ve never had a close game [this season].” Scott said. “So these games, my hands were sweating.”

The ThunderCats entered the tournament as the number one ranked team in the nation. They earned the ranking and qualified for the national competition after winning the Georgia State Championship in June