Bearcats’ season ends in one-point, first round playoff loss

Published 9:01 pm Wednesday, February 21, 2024

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The Bearcats fell to the Whitewater Wildcats 61-60 in the first round of the GHSA State Playoffs. The loss ends their season.

“I wasn’t prepared for no end-of-the-season speech tonight,” said a teary-eyed Bearcats head coach Kelvin Cochran. “It happened, though.”

The game was tied at 57 with one minute left in the fourth quarter. After back-and-forth play, the Bearcats were down by one with .3 seconds on the clock. They attempted a tip-in at the buzzer but were unsuccessful. 

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“We had our opportunity,” Cochran said. “I tell them all the time, ‘You can’t never be mad when the good lord gives you an opportunity.”

The game was back and forth early. The Wildcats led 18-16 in the first quarter, then grew their lead to 36-28 in the second quarter.

The Bearcats responded out of halftime by outsourcing the Wildcats by almost double in the third quarter. They clawed back to a 1-point deficit, and the score at the end of the third quarter was 44-43. 

The Bearcats tied the game at 46-46 early in the quarter, and two free throws from sophomore Ty Jones gave Bainbridge a two-point lead. The Wildcats took the lead back with 4:34 left, bringing the score to 51-50. They kept it and won the game.

The team will be losing seven seniors to graduation. Cochran said the loss of his veteran guys is one of the hardest parts of the loss.

“For some of the seniors, their careers are over with,” Cochran said. “It’s hard to lose a group of seniors that’ve been working for you and a part of your life as long as they have.” 

The Bearcats entered the playoffs a 1-seed after winning the Region 1-4A Championship over Hardaway. The region championship was Cochran’s first in his Bainbridge coaching career. They got to the final game after beating Westover in the first round of the region tournament.