LEESBURG -- Lee County had ideas of a huge upset Saturday against Bainbridge.
In the third quarter, Devon Baulkmon had a better idea -- become a one-man wrecking crew and carry Bainbridge to its 16th straight win.
By himself, Baulkmon outscored the Trojans, who led by two at halftime, 14-11 in the third quarter alone and led the Bearcats to a 71-52 win in Region 1-AAAA play. Baulkmon finished with a game-high 28 points and collected nine rebounds and four steals.
"We knew (Baulkmon) was going to score his points," said Lee County head coach Tim McPherson, who started two freshmen Saturday. "What we had to do was keep the rest of them (in check). The third quarter was crucial."
The Trojans (3-17, 0-2 Region 1-AAAA) held Bainbridge scoreless the final 3:29 of the first half and freshman phenom Josh Cabrera scored 10 points to send Lee into the locker room with the lead.
Then Baulkmon exploded in the third after Bainbridge, ranked No. 6 in Class AAAA and No. 2 by The Herald, couldn't find an offensive rhythm in the first half. The Bearcats (19-2, 1-0 Region 1-AAAA) led, 51-36, going into the fourth quarter after Baulkmon, Rodney Glenn, Paul Chates and Ronald Crawford combined to score 28 points in the third.
"We weren't playing (in the first half)," Baulkmon said. "If we play a team that we know we can beat we play to the same competitive level as them. That makes us not play right."
Bainbridge crushed Lee on the boards, 31-14, in the second half. Glenn finished with 14 rebounds to go along with his six points. Crawford was the only other Bearcat in double-figure scoring with 10 points.
Cabrera finished with 14 points and five boards, while fellow freshman Steve Collier scored 10. Tanner Stone added 11 in the loss for Lee County, which plays host to Thomas County Central Tuesday.
"We played (Bainbridge) as hard as we could play," McPherson said. "We've just got to get a break somewhere."
Bainbridge, which hasn't lost since Dec. 14, will also host TCC on Friday before welcoming Lee County on Saturday. The Bearcats do not play any teams from the opposing 1-AAAA subregion in the regular season, including Class AAAA No. 7 Hardaway.
BAINBRIDGE GIRLS 67, LEE COUNTY 52:
Bainbridge only led by two at halftime before senior April Thomas scored 22 of her 34 points in the second half to help BHS pull away.
Briana Wade scored 17, but Thomas had the biggest night of anyone. Herald Super 6er Brianna Harris added a double-double in the win (10 points, 10 rebounds).
"They're both seniors and both are leaders," Moon said of Harris and Thomas. "They're best friends, but I think (Thomas') motivation came from not being (named a) Super 6."
Bainbridge (15-5, 2-0 Region 1-AAAA) led just 47-42 with six minutes to play when Thomas took over, scoring 11 straight points on driving layups to spark a 13-0 run.
"(Thomas) plays hard and she plays wide open," Lee County head coach Fran McPherson said. "She just made some spectacular plays. We did not defend their dribble drive penetration well. We didn't stop what they do well."
Lee County's Daquenna Moore scored 15 points and added 13 rebounds in the loss. The Lady Trojans (10-11, 0-2 Region 1-AAAA) also got 14 points from Jessica Clinton and 10 from Carle Ely.