Bainbridge basketball cheerleaders celebrated on Senior Night

Published 10:39 am Friday, February 9, 2024

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The senior Bainbridge basketball cheerleaders were honored between the Ladycat and Bearcat basketball games against Early County Tuesday night. The squad has four seniors: Kimoria Brown, Ka’Zaria Fowler, Taylor Johnson and Nadia Shelmon.

“They all have cheer near and dear to their hearts,” said basketball cheer head coach Kimberly Barthel.

Kimoria Brown has been a varsity basketball cheerleader for three years. After graduation, Brown plans to attend college to become a physical therapist.

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Barthel said she met Brown as an elementary schooler and has enjoyed watching her grow. Brown serves as the cheer captain for the 2024 squad.

“She was actually one of my elementary babies,” Barthel said. “To see her in this position, in high school, a senior, and then she made captain… All the girls were drawn to her, she was patient with everyone when she was teaching, she just possessed all those things that I felt a leader should have.”

Ka’Zaria Fowler has been a varsity basketball cheerleader for four years. After graduation, Fowler plans to attend college to become a nurse. 

Barthel said she and Fowler have grown together over the season. Barthel lovingly referred to Fowler as a “rebel” and stated that her strong-willed personality is a strong suit.

“I had to get to know her,” Barthel said. “She is the sweetest, smartest young lady, but I tell you she is the one that tries me… But here’s her growth. She realized that, ‘Ok, I’m on a team now, I’m part of a team, it’s not about me.’ So, in that way, she blossomed. To hear her say, ‘Coach, I see what you’re talking about,’ man, that just rocked my world.”

Taylor Johnson has been a varsity basketball cheerleader for three years. After graduation, Johnson plans to attend college, major in biology, and pursue a career as a certified registered nurse anesthetist.

Barthel described Johnson as “full of talent.” She said she’s proud of the personal growth Johnson has been through this season.

“She told me that she didn’t like change,” Barthel said. “I had to just tell her, ‘Listen, in life, baby, it’s going to be change just about every day. We just have to, sometimes, accept some of the change and just grab it by the horns and move forward.’ I believe that she listened to me, and it’s been smooth sailing ever since.”

Nadia Shelmon has been a varsity basketball cheerleader for three years. After graduation, Nadia plans to attend a university and obtain a degree in healthcare. 

Barthel first met Shelman as a young girl at Lucretia’s School of Dance; Shelman danced with Barthel’s daughter. Now, Barthel said Shelman has “blossomed” into herself.

“Nadia is another sweetie pie,” Barthel said. “I got to know her when she was little… Now she’s a grown-up. She’s evolved a little bit, and her personality has blossomed. She’s not as quiet as she was. She speaks her mind and does it in a very respectful way. She’s a hard worker, too.”