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Herald No. 2 Bearcats win 10th straight

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

BAINBRIDGE - There's nothing like a little "D" to win a ball game.

As in Devon. Devon Baulkmon.

The Herald Super 6er scored 18 points, hit four 3s and grabbed seven rebounds to lead the Bearcats (13-2) to their 10th straight win, 78-51, against Malone (Fla.) on Tuesday at home.

"Baulkmon was the biggest difference," said Malone head coach Steve Welch, whose No. 6 state-ranked in Florida's Class 1A team beat Bainbridge, 41-39, in the Bearcats' first game of the season. "They didn't have him in the first game."

Welch then added: They also only hit about four 3's in that game and they hit (11 Tuesday)."

It was looking reminiscent of the first game initially, as Malone (16-4) scored the first five points of the game. But junior forward Rodney Glenn -- who finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds -- came off the bench shortly after the 5-0 deficit and sparked his team to a 16-3 run and an eventual 37-22 halftime lead.

"He knows he has to step up. Everybody has roles on the team," Baulkmon said of Glenn. "He's the second-leading scorer, so that's what he has to do."

Baulkmon equaled Herald No. 2 Bainbridge's point total in the first game with a two-handed dunk with 6:45 to go in the third to make it 39-22.

Then Malone got hot offensively in the fourth, scoring at least three points in four consecutive trips down the floor. But senior Bearcats guard Ronald Crawford negated any rally attempt by dropping 12 of his 14 points and hitting all four of his 3-pointers in the final frame.

"We've improved a lot (since the first game against them). We also didn't have (senior starting guard) Rohan (Gaines) then and we've just been getting better," Bainbridge head coach Rickey McCullough said. "We're on a 10-game winning streak and playing good, and I think (Malone) has kind of hit a wall. They're young. But they're a 16-4 ball club and they played (Monday), so I think their legs were a little tired."

Malone freshman Chai Baker -- an FSU recruit who scored 33 against Early County in a holiday tournament win at Bainbridge -- was the only Tigers player in double figures, finishing with 16 points on 5-of-15 shooting with Baulkmon defending him most of the night.

But Baulkmon said he wasn't the main reason the team was able to avenge that early season loss.

"I think it's our chemistry," Baulkmon said. "Everybody has the same mindset, and that's the reason we (keep coming) up with wins."

Added Glenn: "(Winning) just takes hard work, practice and doing the same thing every day."

That mentality is the reason the Bearcats didn't circle Jan. 11 on their calendars after the first loss, and the reason their win streak has reached double digits.

"These kids just play," said McCullough, whose team hosts Pelham on Saturday, then heads to Randolph-Clay on Tuesday. "They just get ready for the next opponent."

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BAINBRIDGE GIRLS 67, MALONE (FLA.) 46:

The Lady Tigers had an early lead ... for about 10 seconds. Then the Lady Bearcats took over.

Herald No. 4 Bainbridge (10-5) went on a 14-2 run to start the game and cruised the rest of the way behind starters April Thomas (16 points, four 3's), Briana Wade (13 points) and Ri'Chana Jackson (12 points, six steals), who all sat out the fourth quarter.

"We didn't play our hardest at the beginning," said Wade, whose team was up, 31-20, at halftime. "But we still came out with a pretty good (win)."

The score ended up being a bit closer than the two teams' first matchup on Dec. 12, though, which Bainbridge won, 66-28.

"Malone has really improved (since then). Their girls work really hard," Lady Bearcats head coach Latriesha Moon said. "But I was proud of my team, and (giving) some of the (bench players) a chance to play some of the in the third and fourth quarter.

Herald Super 6er Bria Harris made her first two shots from the field, but missed her last seven after jamming her finger. She finished with four points, seven rebounds and four steals.

"I told her, 'You have to play big,' " Moon said. "Her finger was probably part of (the reason she struggled), but she still had to step up."

Tierra Brooks (11 points, nine rebounds) and Curteeona Brelove (12 points, seven rebounds, four blocks) both came off the bench to lead Malone (9-6). Jasmin Kelly had seven rebounds for Bainbridge, which hosts Pelham on Saturday.