The Fitzgerald Purple Hurricanes’ stalling tactics only delayed the inevitable Tuesday night.
The Thomasville Bulldogs raced past Fitzgerald 57-38 in a Region 1-AA tournament play-in game at Early County after being held in check in the first half.
The victory earned the fourth-seeded Bulldogs a date with the top-seeded Pelham Hornets at 8:30 p.m. Thursday. It also earned them a spot in the state tournament regardless of what happens against Pelham, which topped the Bulldogs two weeks ago.
“I’m just so excited for the seniors (Jakezmin King, Henri Abrams, Quinton Addison, Andrew Parker and Trevarious Wimberly),” Thomasville head coach Ben Tillman said. “This win gives them the opportunity to play at least three more games. It’s really huge for this set of kids.
“They have continued a Thomasville High School basketball tradition by making it to the state tournament.”
The Hurricanes, 60-45 losers to the Bulldogs last month, used a deliberate offensive pace to try to snuff the Bulldogs’ playoff dreams. The strategy was successful in the early going.
“They came out and stalled the ball in the first quarter and came away with a 7-5 lead,” Tillman said. “At halftime, it was 15-14 with us ahead.”
The tempo picked up considerably after Thomasville finally moved in front. The Bulldogs erupted for 27 third-quarter points.
“They had to quite stalling after we went ahead,” Tillman said.
Jay Bowdry paced Thomasville with 14 points. King chipped in 11 points.