BAINBRIDGE -- Can anyone slow down Bainbridge's basketball programs?
It doesn't appear that way as the Bearcats and Lady Bearcats rolled into the Region 1-AAAA tournament championship games Friday with convincing wins on their home floor to give the boys their 22nd win a row, while the victory marked the 13th straight win for the girls.
Bainbridge, The Herald's No. 1 team that just took over the top spot from Monroe in the final week of the Top 5 Poll, dropped Northside, Warner Robins, 72-57, in the final game of the semifinal round Friday, despite its star, Super 6er Devon Baulkmon, getting into foul trouble.
No worries, though, said Bearcats coach Rickey McCullough, who watched several players step up as Baulkmon was forced to the bench for much of the third and fourth quarters.
"We just had good overall scoring after (Northside) put the box-and-one on Devon," said McCullough, who is in his fifth season as coach of the Bearcats and will go for his third straight region title today at 8:30 p.m. against TCC. "But when they went after Devon, he became a contributor rather than a scorer and started passing the ball and doing what we needed him to do."
Baulkmon finished with nine points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two steals, while Rodney Glenn stepped up big to lead Bainbridge with 17 points. Jamar Cosby added 12 and Ronald Crawford and Paul Chukes each added 10.
The boys team hasn't lost since Dec. 14, while the girls have been perfect since Jan. 7.
Lady Bearcats coach Latriesha Moon hopes it stays that way tonight when her team hosts Warner Robins in the final at 7:30 p.m.
"They're the real deal," Moon said of Warner Robins after her team's 67-60 win against Hardaway in the semis. "They're going to press us a lot -- but we have to be ready."
They were ready Friday as Bainbridge's girls turned a 32-32 tie game at halftime into a seven-point win thanks to 27 points from April Thomas and 23 from Herald Super 6er Bria Harris.
But tonight's shot at Moon's third region crown in five years will have to be without the services of starting point guard Briana Wade, who was forced to sit out Friday's game and tonight's after picking up two technical fouls in the quarterfinal round.
Moon seems to think Harris has what it takes to pick up the slack.
"I am so proud of how well Bria played (Friday night) because she had to play point and shooting guard at the same time with (Briana) out," Moon said. "She stepped up (Friday) and I think she'll do the same (tonight)."