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GASP!: Herald No. 1 Bainbridge girls shocked in state opener

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

FOREST PARK -- Sad, real sad.

Those were the words from Bainbridge girls basketball coach Latreisha Moon, who watched her team's season end Saturday night on the road in a 51-43 loss to Forest Park in the opening round of the GHSA Class AAAA playoffs.

"We didn't meet the expectations we had,'' Moon said. "We wanted to be in the Final Four or more. But it was a great season.''

The loss also marks the end of the high school career of Alexis Burke, arguably the best girls player in Bainbridge history. Burke scored more than 1,800 points in her career, but fell short of her dream of winning a state title. Burke, who led Bainbridge with 17 points in the low-scoring game Saturday, has already accepted a scholarship to play at the University of Illinois. Bria Harris scored 12 for Bainbridge.

Bainbridge (24-4) was the No. 1 ranked team in The Herald the entire season and also spent most of the season ranked in the state's top five, but the Lady Bearcats had trouble in the stretch, falling to Lee County in the Region 1-AAAA semifinals last week. That loss sent Bainbridge on the road in the opening round against Forest Park, a No. 2 seed.

"The loss to Lee County took a lot out of us,'' Moon said. "And the long bus ride (to just outside of Atlanta) always plays a factor. But we just got outplayed in the fourth quarter (Saturday).''

Bainbridge was down by two at halftime, but rallied to take a four-point lead into the fourth quarter. Forest Park came back and it was anyone's game when FP's Jennifer Anderson hit a 3-pointer with about three minutes left to give Forest Park a three-point lead.

"That was a big 3 for them,'' Moon said. "Then we didn't convert and they came back and went up by five with about two minutes left, and after that we had to start fouling them in the last minutes.''

Bainbridge, which has a lot of speed and a big advantage against most teams because of Burke's versatility, didn't get a chance to run the floor much in the fourth quarter.

"They stalled the ball for a lot of the fourth quarter, and we just didn't get to take that many shots. We scored only eight points in the fourth quarter,'' Moon said. "It's over. That's all. We'll go cheer for the boys now.''