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No. 1 Lady Bearcats hold off No. 5 Lady Trojans; BHS boys edge Lee

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

LEESBURG -- Sure, Herald No. 1 Bainbridge High's Alexis Burke is good. Everybody knows that.

A lot of folks, though, haven't picked up on the fact that the Lady Bearcats have several other weapons.

"Very few people have realized that," said Bainbridge junior guard April Thomas, who hit five 3s in the first half of Tuesday's 76-62 win against Lee County in the regular-season finale.

Herald No. 5 Lee County focused on Burke, who has signed with the University of Illinois, and held her to just six points in the first two quarters but got burnt by Thomas' 17-point first half.

"We tell April, 'Your game is to catch the ball and shoot,' " Bainbridge head coach Latreisha Moon said. "She's a scorer."

As Thomas was raining 3s in the opening half, Lee County's Lindsey Crawford did her best to keep pace on Senior Night in Leesburg. She barely missed in the first half, scoring 14 points, to hold the Lady Bearcats' lead to 38-30 at the break.

Crawford, who plans to attend Shorter College on a full basketball scholarship, finished with 27 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and three steals.

The Lady Trojans held Thomas to just three points in the second half -- but that's also when Burke took over.

"We put two sophomores on (Burke) trying to slow her down (and we still couldn't)," Lee County coach Fran McPherson said. "She knows when to turn it up."

Burke scored 21 in the second half to also finish with 27 points.

"We went to a box-and-one (in the first half) and (Thomas) shot the lights out of it there," McPherson said. "We were still trying to help (defend Burke), and you can't do that. Every time we would get momentum, they would hit a shot."

Lee County fell behind, 10-0, only to come back and tie it at 26-all in the second quarter, but the Lady Trojans never got closer than six points in the second half.

Meanwhile, the diminutive Thomas, who is just over 5-foot tall on her tiptoes, could be found beating and banging with Crawford in the block for much of the night. Crawford, meanwhile, is more than a foot taller.

"Little ol' April, she rebounds hard," Moon said with a smile. "She's little, but people don't like to be nagged and she nags them all the time."

Thomas finished with 2,0 and the Lady Bearcats also got 18 points from Bria Harris. Lee County's Jessica Clinton added 12 points in the loss.

The Lady Trojans (18-7, 2-4 Region 1A-AAAA) will enter the region tournament as the No. 3 seed and will face No. 2 seed Hardaway from Region 1B-AAAA on Tuesday at Westside-Macon. Tipoff is 5:30 p..m.

Bainbridge (23-2, 6-0 Region 1A-AAAA) opens region tournament play Tuesday in Macon as well, only it will face off against the play-in game winner.

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BAINBRIDGE BOYS 69, LEE COUNTY 62:

Lee County's boys could easily be 3-3 in region play. Instead, their hard luck in the final minutes at home continued Tuesday after tying the game against Herald No. 3 Bainbridge with four minutes to play.

Sanford Seay knotted the game up at 52-52 with a jumper at that point, but after that it was all Bearcats. The dagger was an alley-oop dunk from Justin Harris to Devon Baulkman with 2:20 left that put Bainbridge up for good, 59-54.

"I thought the air came out a little after that," said Trojans coach Tim McPherson, whose team will play Jones County on Friday in Americus in the Region 1-AAAA tournament play-in game.

Lee County led, 31-26, at the half against region unbeaten Bainbridge (21-4) and held that lead until the final minutes of the third quarter.

Baulkman scored a game-high 20 points to lead Bainbridge, while Harris added 17.

"I think (McPherson) had his team ready to play and I didn't," Bainbridge head coach Rickey McCullough said. "We were just deeper and were able to pull it out in the end with better athletes. I'm just glad to get out of here alive."

Lee County was led by Jacoby Mallory's 18 points, while Seay and Donte Smith each had 14 points and 13 rebounds. The Trojans finished at 1-5 in the region and 4-17 overall after picking up a forfeit game from Thomas County Central for the use of an ineligible player, McPherson said.

Bainbridge, the No. 1 seed from Region 1A-AAAA will play Harris County on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Macon to open the region tournament.